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Jobs top of the agenda at meeting of Nordic prime minsters
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Jobs top of the agenda at meeting of Nordic prime minsters

| Text: Berit Kvam, photo: Björn Lindahl

Removing border obstacles and increasing investments to create jobs are some of the visions shared by the Nordic prime ministers. During the Stockholm session of the Nordic Council, they also expressed a wish to expand the Nordic region as a brand.

“We have been talking a lot about how we can invest in order to create more jobs,” said Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

“This is a challenge we share with the rest of the EU, but we have been looking at what we can do within a Nordic framework. We don’t regard investments as not having budgetary control, we see them as a tool to move on. If we don’t invest and plan for the future, there won’t be any budgets to control, and there will be no jobs either. So on this we all share the same beliefs and the same strategy. We need to strike a balance between investments and balancing the books.”

When the five Nordic prime ministers Stefan Löfven from Sweden, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark, Alexander Stubb, Finland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Iceland and Erna Solberg from Norway, met the press, their agreed vision for the future was noticeable.

“The Nordic region is increasingly speaking with one voice,” said Finland’s Alexander Stubb.

“This is true both for the European cooperation and in the UN. Many look to the Nordic region, so it is important to use this momentum to further build the Nordics as a brand.”

Removing border obstacles in the Nordic labour market is one of the main pillars for Nordic cooperation. It has been part of the agenda for 60 years of cooperation in order to develop a better labour market. This was also addressed by the prime ministers during this gathering. 

“We have been debating border obstacles in great detail, and this is important for Denmark. Working to remove border obstacles is one of the main issues for the upcoming Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers,” Helle Thorning-Schmidt told the Nordic Labour Journal.

She also underlined the importance of finalising current negotiations on a free trade agreement between the EU and the USA: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“To get the economy going it is important to secure a free trade agreement with the USA. This would mean increased growth in Europe.”

The 66th session of the Nordic Council took place in Stockholm during the last week of October. Work, education and integration featured on the agenda. 39 government ministers from the five countries and from the autonomous Åland and Faroe Islands took part, in addition to delegations from national parliaments.

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