Because of the bridge, Öland may have missed out on grants worth between 25 and 50 million kronor ($4-8 million). According to EU’s definition, the bridge makes Öland part of the mainland.
EU’s definition of what makes an island generally coincides with common perception: a land mass surrounded by water.
However, if there is a bridge or tunnel to the island it is counted as part of the mainland. The underlying reason is support for rural areas.
As Öland is connected to the mainland, the island is part of the same labour market region as Kalmar, in southern Sweden, which means that the island’s gross regional product is relatively high.
Therefore the island isn’t considered in need of these grants.
However, the proximity to Kalmar varies greatly, depending on which end of the oblong island you’re starting from. The bridge connecting the island to the mainland is in the south.
“For northern Öland, the bridge isn’t any help. That’s a rural area and would be greatly helped by a grant,” said Lisbeth Lennartsson, Borgholm municipal board’s chairwoman and Öland’s municipal authority’s vice chairwoman, to news agency TT.
The subsidies Öland will now not receive were meant to be used to strengthen the island’s infrastructure.