Greed almost destroyed the world financial markets. Tax payers money are used to fill in the gaps after speculative investments, luxury consume for the few and lack of political regulations. Rural regions are facing some of the deepest problems ever. From some regions there is an exodus. The depopulation of rural areas in the Northern Europe comes as a consequence of failed politics, lack of investments in infrastructure and waist of tax payers and share holders money to wrong projects. Company leaders and some political leaders are using the opportunity to grab and run instead of spending money for sustainable and long term investments. Leaders of Saab gave themselves big bonuses last year on the road to bankruptcy. And what have the bank boards and executives learned from the financial crisis? Apparently that there is tax money to fill into the gaps. No moderation what so ever.

And what about the governments? As an example there is absolutely no master plan for building competitive infrastructure within the Nordic countries, neither within the Baltics or Northern Europe as a whole. Not many brave initiatives to connect North Europe to Russia and to invest in roads and fast trains at least in the same scale as China. What happened with Northern Europe ? When did we give up the idea about being a leading region?

More than ever it´s paramount to focus on the real values in life, not only on the currency, stock rates and money. Real values and identity become more important when times are getting rough.

This year has showed that many people within the Russian Federation are becoming self confident and will not accept non democratic governance. This year has also showed that many people across Europe has started to investigate reasons behind the crunch and political leaders who failed has been changed. The Middle East has started the long march towards another and hopefully better and more democratic political system. Africa, China and South America have continued to develop their economies and hundred of millions are getting a better life. They contribute to the world economy more than ever before.

Christmas is a season for values, friendship, families and reflections. Where is Europe heading? What are we aiming at? Why did greed get such a remarkable place in our society? Why is democracy not stronger? Where did politics fail? What can be done? The IC network promise to play an important role also in 2012. We will continue to work for the rural regions in Europe, for the small towns, the medium sized cities, the villages and the countryside in general.

Next year we will again gather youths, specialists, decision makers and entrepreneurs from Northern Europe. Stay tuned and keep circling!


Merry Christmas everyone!
Let the Christmas carols guide you towards the New Year !

Alf S. Johansen
Secretary General