Many types of voluntary organisations played an important role when Sweden received a record number of refugees last autumn. There are many challenges, but with successful integration many municipalities consider refugees to be the solution to the future need of labour.
The large number of refugees arriving in the Nordic countries is having consequences for Nordic cooperation. This is the theme for the Nordic Council’s session in Oslo. New border obstacles have emerged, and if the refugee situation is handled very differently in the different Nordic countries it could have grave consequences.
Less than one in three refugees in Denmark finds work after three years. Now the government and the social partners want to change this by introducing a two year integration education programme in the workplace.
Sweden’s feminist government wants to use its foreign policy to promote women’s and girl's rights, representation and resources based on the reality in which they live. What exactly a feminist foreign policy means is hard to define, but the perspective should permeate everything the foreign ministry and the diplomatic missions to.
Since last year’s barometer there has been a change of government in Finland and in Denmark. Both resulted in governments with fewer female ministers. As a result Nordic gender equality falls by three points to 66 points. Behind the seemingly slight loss, women particularly in Denmark are facing a real setback in the fight for power.
Nordic countries are leading the way in sustainable development and welfare, built on solid democratic foundations. That was one of the central themes when Finland organised its first conference after taking on the 2016 Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“Immigration to the Nordic region does not only mean more diversity. What we’re seeing now is that the diversity is diversifying. We get super-diversity,” says Tuomas Martikainen, Director of the Finnish Institute of Migration.
The Finnish programme for Nordic cooperation aims to secure welfare by extending cooperation between different government departments and organisations. But can it be done? Iceland’s Welfare Watch is one of the best examples of an innovative way to cooperate.
Kick off in Turku/Åbo for the Finnish Presidency and a great drive for Nordic cross-sector cooperation. How can work, welfare and culture be combined?
What if we turned the pyramide upside down and allowed the ministry of culture, rather than the ministry of finance, to be in charge of social development? What would happen if that ministry, which is usually bottom of the hierarchy, could prioritise measures to promote sustainable development? Would it make a difference?
“It’s like on a plane when the oxygen masks have been activated. When you’re told to put on your own mask before helping people sitting next to you. If we are to help the world, we must look after our own country first,” says Jøran Kallmyr, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Justice.
There is agreement on one thing when it comes to refugees — the many newly arrived must be integrated into their new societies. They need accommodation, language skills and jobs. The Nordic cooperation could do with sharing experiences for how to achieve that.
Finland has been caught unprepared by a flow of refugees the size of which the country has not experienced since World War II and the evacuation of Finnish Karelia. Many private individuals have been willing to help look after the new arrivals by offering food, clothes and accommodation. And now entrepreneurs are starting to turn up at refugee centres.
This summer Ann Bergman really managed to ignite the debate on working life research. In an article in the Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies she asked why working life researchers are so uninterested in the future.
Big Data is the new buzzword for the enormous increase in stored information across the world. But how will this information stream influence working life and working life research?
For many years there has been talk about the new working life, where work is more about doing something meaningful than about making money. But are we really seeing the emergence of a new type of independent worker who feels collective agreements and permanent contracts are nothing but obstacles?