The first cooperation at local and regional level between the 2 countries commenced by the agreement between Spydeberg in Østfold region and Straupe in Cesis region already in 1991, the first cooperation agreement ever between a Norwegian local authority and a former Soviet local authority.
Only few days after the independence in 1991 the Norwegians were received in Riga and Straupe. A new beginning symbolized by new friends and new partners. Later on several communities and regions in Latvia and Norway have established cooperation. 3 other Norwegian municipalities (Rømskog, Marker and Aremark) found their partners within Cesis region(Dzerbene, Taurene and Veselava) in 2000 and the Østfold county council entered the cooperation with a regional cooperation with Cesis Region.
The activities have during the years included small biletral actions and large multilateral projects. Som examples are exchange of school classes, cultural groups, seminars for politicians, partcipation at each others festivals and exhibitions, exchange of professionals, contact making between eneterprises, tourism promotion, public health actions and many more smaller projects.
Some larger actions have been building of water treatment plant in Straupe, cooperation between FREVAR and VINDA about water and sewage systems in Cesis, The NOR-LAT BA group activities in the 90´s, the HEPRO projects focusing on public health, the BSR Interreg projects PIPE, Innovation Circle, Transinform, the establishment of the Innovation Circle Network in 2007, the establisment of a science center in Cesis town in 2011.
The cooperation has also contributed to bring ideas and visitors to Norway and Latvia and more than 10.000 thousand bed nights is a very practical indicator which shows how transnational cooperation also can stream resources down to smaller and medium sized businesses.
The Intention Protocol
The intention protocol is signed for a period of 4 years by the following:
Østfold County Council, Spydeberg Municipality, Aremark Municipality, Marker Municipality, Rømskog Municipality, Amata Novads, Vecpiebalga Novads, Jaunpiebalga Novads, Rauna Novads, Ligatne Novads, Priekuli Novads, Pargauja Novads
A working group is established to work for cooperation actions and projects and search for funding external funding.
Visit to Cesis
A group from Østfold representing regional and local authorities visited Cesis 17-19 Oct 2011. County Myor Mr Ole Haabeth presented Østfold County Councils´ intentons behind the new intention protocol and also presented the Østfold region in a brief . Mayor of Amata Novads Mrs. Elita Eglite gave a brief information about Amata. Later on the proticl was duly signed by the leaders of the respective authorities. Eirik Milde , representing the conservative party in Østfold County Council and Svein Åge Lauritzen representing the administration were also present. Mrs. Rita Merca and Alf S. Johansen were chairing the meeting.