Dr. Malin Stegmann McCallion is currently a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Karlstad University. She has just published an article on the State of Regionalisation in Sweden:
1 January 2015 saw six new regions in Sweden, bringing the total to ten (green in the map to the right). The new regions are Region Jönköping län2, Region Örebro län, Region Gävleborg, Region Östergötland, Region
Kronoberg, and Region Jämtland Härjedalen. The already existing regions were Region Skåne, Västra Götalandsregionen, which were made permanent regions in 2011 after the regional pilot project, Region Gotland changed status from municipality to region in 2011, and Region Halland in which the county council and regional development council merged in 2011.
Before 1 January 2015 there were three regional actors responsible for different societal tasks there are now two in all six regions. The central state regional agency the county administration board still has the same responsibility as it had. What has changed is that the county council took over the responsibility of regional development and the regional development council ceased to exist. Thus regional development councils (marked blue on the map) are no longer the most common regional actor responsible for regional development policy in Sweden.3
The rationale is that by incorporating regional development into the county council is that it then falls under the responsibility of a directly elected institution as well as providing greater synergies between policy areas within the geographical area of the region. A region has the same tasks within the welfare state as a county council such as health care, public transport and in some instances culture.
In addition a region is responsible for the regional development policy for the region and the planning of infrastructure within the region. The synergy effect can come from the ability to co-ordinate policy measures taken within, for example, transport infrastructure, business, employment and (further) education policies, and by tying these measures and/or actions where so is relevant with, for example, the running of hospitals or providing care.
1 Dr Stegmann McCallion is a senior lecturer in political science at Karlstad University. She is part of the region building research environment and her research interests fall mainly within the following areas regionalisation processes, Europeanisation, multi-level governance, paradiplomacy/sub-state diplomacy and Swedish membership of the European Union.
2 Län (county) is the regional central state geography in the Sweden, the publicly election county councils correspond to this in general as does the regions.
3 For more about the regional level in Sweden please see the country reports that have ben prepared in the framework of our Study on Regionalism (2014-2015)