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The Nordic cooperation has three clear goals

The Nordic cooperation has three clear goals

| Text and photo: Björn Lindahl

The Nordic cooperation will soon be going through major changes. A new vision is to be turned into practical politics within three strategic areas. This special edition of the Nordic Labour Journal looks at what is happening in the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Nordic cooperation is so comprehensive and the Nordics are so integrated as a region, that it can be difficult to see where something begins and another thing ends. 

When the Nordic Prime Ministers last year launched the vision for the Nordic region to be the most sustainable region in the world in 2030, it was not the ideas around a green shift which set us most apart from other regions in the world. This is also the aim of many other countries and regional cooperations, like the EU.

But since environmental challenges often know no borders, they can only be solved through cooperation. The Nordics have been an inspiration to the world in this. Thanks to the cooperation, it is easier for us to solve the problems, and we can also cooperate on another level compared to many other regions. 

The climate crisis and the negative direction international cooperation is heading in generally, has led to an even greater interest in the Nordic cooperation, according to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretary General Paula Lehtomäki. She says that ambitions are higher than before. There are also higher expectations for real results, however.

At the secretariat, Deputy Chief of Staff Helle Engslund Karup is gathering the input from the 12 different ministerial councils. This will result in three cross-sector action plans for the period 2021 to 2024. When the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation meet in February, they must agree on next year’s budget. This will also be the first signal of how comprehensive the changes will be. 

Because, as Helle Engslund Karup underlines:  if the Nordic Council of Ministers is to focus its operations and prioritise a green, competitive and socially sustainable Nordic region, other areas will be prioritised less. 

That is why the proposed budget will be something that has an influence on many of those who work with Nordic cooperation. Opinion polls show that there is popular support for the cooperation. But there is also a great lack of knowledge about what is actually being done, and about what the Nordic Council of Minister do.

The Nordic Labour Journal gathered its editorial staff in Copenhagen and the resulting special edition focuses solely on the Nordic Council of Ministers and its relationship to the Nordic Council and the rest of the world.

Editorial pic

The Nordic Labour Journal's editorial staff met the four people who are working closest with labour market issues at the Council of Ministers' secretariat. Photo: Tomas Bertelsen. 

We hope it will shine a light on what is going on in the Nordens Hus in Copenhagen. The edition has more or less become “A day in the life of the Nordic Council of Ministers”. At the same time, we present ourselves in a bit more detail than before. This is what we have been doing:

Danish Marie Preisler followed Paula Lehtomäki through a normal Monday.

Swedish-Norwegian Björn Lindahl interviewed Helle Engslund Karup about the new action plans, and followed the Labour Market Committee to Iceland.

Swedish Gunhild Wallin has taken a look at the Council of Ministers’ relationship to the Nordic Council and to young people.

Icelandic Gudrun Helga Sigurdadottir has written about the campaign for paternity leave and met a new Icelandic father.

Finnish Bengt Östling interviewed Tobias Grut about the new international profiling of the Nordic region abroad.

Norwegian-British Lars Bevanger has taken a look at how a podcast series is part of that profiling.

If you are curious about who we are, we have also updated our page About us!


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Nordens Hus

lies at Stranden 18 in Copenhagen. This is where you will find both the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council's secretariat – with a view over Christiansborg, the home of Denmark's government


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