Regional support and global vision in a new world order
The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 fundamentally changed the political map of Northern Europe.
At the end of 1989, democracy was introduced to Poland and the GDR, which then reunited with West Germany on 3 October 1990. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
The Baltic countries, which had previously tried to assert greater autonomy, now regained the full independence they had enjoyed between the two World Wars.
Even prior to independence, the Nordic countries had made contact with the Baltic nations to discuss setting up Nordic Council of Ministers information offices there.
In 1994, referenda on membership of the EU were held in Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Finland and Sweden voted to join, which they did on 1 January 1995, along with Austria. In Norway, a majority has declined EU membership twice.
In October 1999, the five Nordic nations opened a joint embassy complex in Berlin, which had become the capital of Germany once again. The move from Bonn, close to the French border, shifted the political centre of gravity in Germany towards the north-east.
In 2007, the Bundestag in Berlin was the setting for the annual Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), in which the Nordic Council has been an active participant ever since the first conference in January 1991 – six months before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The whole of the Baltic Sea Region – with the exception of the Russian areas around St Petersburg and Kaliningrad – is now part of the EU. Contact between the Nordic and Baltic partners is still particularly close, but only time will tell in which direction Nordic co-operation will develop.