Vilnius and Kaunas dipole was awarded the title of European Region of the Future 2006/07 last May. This prestigious award was granted to Lithuania’s two largest cities by fDi magazine. The award means that the region’s ideas and efforts were appreciated by the most distinguished international experts, who see a promising future for Vilnius and Kaunas region. This will help to attract even more investment and will strengthen the competitive capacities of the region.

Today, Vilnius and Kaunas are creating common plans for both cities and the idea of a dipole proved to be a success. Combining the potential of the two largest Lithuanian cities is acquiring increasing significance not only domestically, but also among other Baltic states and Europe as a whole. The power of two partner cities can provide a major boost for the Lithuanian economy, attract foreign investments and lay the foundation for success.


Economic potential

Vilnius and Kaunas dipole is recognised as the region with the biggest economic potential in the Baltic region. Recently, the dipole’s gross domestic product was growing by 8% on average, and accumulated FDI exceeded €3.4bn in 2004. The dipole was also highly praised for its advantages in cost efficiency, human resources and transport, and the best strategy for fostering FDI.

Why a dipole?

The region of Vilnius and Kaunas has a population of about 1.6 million, and more than 50% of Lithuania’s GDP is created there. More than 16 million people live within a 300-kilometre radius of Vilnius. Joining the metropoli of Vilnius and Kaunas and developing a knowledge economy – with its modern transport system, common business space, and expanded base of science and knowledge, tourism and culture – can enhance the international competitiveness of the region and attract investments.

International experience

This dipole model of co-operation is not a novelty; the practice has been applied successfully in the US, western Europe and Nordic countries. The joint activities of Mälmo and Copenhagen, Munich and Salzburg, and Tallinn and Helsinki are examples of successful co-operation. The nearest example to Vilnius and Kaunas is the tripole of Polish cities Gdansk, Sopot and Gdyn.

The strategic plan for the first dipole in Lithuania was drawn up taking into account the experience of cities and regions across the globe, and the trends prevailing worldwide.

Development strategy

Both Lithuania and its cities Vilnius and Kaunas encounter ever-increasing international competition. At present, such competition is the main challenge facing both the globalising world and European integration, which we must accept if we are to become equal partners with other cities and states of the world. Only by combining forces may we ensure international competitiveness.

Our strategic plan complies with the EU regional development directives, in which Lithuania is named as a one-goal region, lagging behind the EU’s old member states in GDP. Therefore, the strategic plan offers, primarily, projects that promote the country’s GDP growth, enhance the region’s competitiveness and attract investments from EU funds and the private sector.

The developed vision of Vilnius and Kaunas dipole makes it the most progressive centre of European importance, which increases the international competitiveness of Lithuania. The priorities of the region are the economy, tourism and the transport infrastructure development.

In developing and modernising airport terminals in Vilnius and Kaunas, communication between the two cities will also receive a lot of attention. There are plans for a new direct link via the IXB international transport corridor from Vilnius to Karmòlava airport and for a branch of the high-speed, European-gauge railway, Rail Baltica, between Vilnius and Kaunas. The municipalities of both cities promote cheap flights from Kaunas airport by covering part of the costs of advertising flights in the region, and by ensuring special bus traffic between Vilnius and Kaunas airports.

Interested parties should contact:

Co-ordinator of Vilnius and Kaunas Region a Mindaugas Reinikis a Vilnius City Municipal Government a Konstitucijos pr. 3

LT-09601 Vilnius, Lithuania

Tel: +370 5 211 2318

Fax: +370 5 211 2145