The South Coast Metropole Partnership, an alliance of local authorities representing Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, was established to boost the economic prosperity of the region.
It supports local companies, builds overseas business links and markets the region to tourism markets and potential inward investors. The Metropole presidency runs for six months from January to June 1998. Southampton took over the presidency from the Isle of Wight, which became a member of the Metropole in 1997.
Southampton City Council leader John Arnold is looking forward to the next six months. He said: 'Southampton is pleased to assume the presidency of the South Coast Metropole - especially at such an important period in its development when European issues, and the future of regional development agencies, are at the top of the political agenda.