At their meeting at Marienborg near Copenhagen, the Nordic prime ministers discussed the refugee crisis and a common strategy leading up to November’s COP21 climate summit. Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten also met the Nordic prime ministers to speak about the results of Nordic co-operation on Green Growth and Sustainable Nordic Welfare.
At their meeting in Copenhagen on Wednesday, the ministers for Nordic co-operation established continued co-operation with Russia despite the current disbanding of operations at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ offices in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. As before, co-operation focuses on the environment, democracy, education and culture.
After a meeting in Copenhagen, the Nordic ministers of health and social affairs and the Danish Minister of Employment, Jørn Neergaard Larsen, issued a declaration on welfare benefits in the social and health area in the Nordic countries and interaction with EU Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security benefits.
At Monday’s roundtable discussion on defence issues hosted by the Nordic Council in Stockholm, Sweden’s Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist stressed the importance of successful and deepened co-operation within the framework of NORDEFCO, as well as bilateral co-operation such as that which exists between Sweden and Finland.
The Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers have agreed to counter Russian propaganda. At their meeting in Copenhagen today, the ministers also pledged support for Ukraine and agreed to explore funding options for climate initiatives and to pursue an ambitious global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris in December.
Finland’s latest Minister for Nordic Co-operation is a new face on both the Finnish and Nordic political scenes. Anne Berner is, however, well known in Finnish business, and comes to Parliament and the government directly from her post as CEO of the family-run company Vallila Interior. Although not previously active in politics, she has played a role in civic society, e.g. fundraising for a new children’s hospital in Helsinki.
The Nordic Council of Ministers is launching a new initiative to put even greater energy into the fight against human trafficking. Designed to enhance both preventative and reactive measures, the initiative will involve better co-ordination of Nordic resources and closer partnerships with bodies outside the Region.
How can Baltic co-operation be strengthened? How should existing barriers to co-operation and mobility within the region be reduced? On 15 and 16 June, experts, politicians and officials from EU countries will gather for the European Union’s sixth annual conference on Baltic co-operation, EUSBSR. As one of the EU’s most active partners in the region, the Nordic Council of Ministers will be taking part in the conference.
On 1–2 June, the heads of state from the countries that made up the Former Republic of Yugoslavia attended Summit100 in Slovenia, to discuss business co-operation in South-east Europe. Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, was the keynote speaker at a debate involving the Balkan presidents. His speech about the importance of trust resonated with the panel.
In a world that appears increasingly troubling, the autonomy of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland is worth studying from the perspective of conflict resolution. A new report by the Nordic Council in collaboration with the Åland Island’s Peace Institute presents a comparative study of developments in the autonomous regions’ legal, economic, and security policies.
Just over 1 in 6 adults in the Region have weak literacy and numeracy skills, while 25% of adults aged between 16 and 65 have poor skills when it comes to problem solving using information technology, or have not performed tasks using a computer. Nevertheless, the Nordic countries are still among the best in terms of adults’ basic skills.
The best working example of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ objective to boost the internationalisation of higher education in the Nordic region, Nordic Master, took another step forwards on 19 May with the launch of its latest programme, Cold Climate Engineering, at DTU in Copenhagen. The launch was marked by a speech by the Danish Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Carsten Hansen.
The new issue of the web magazine "Green Growth the Nordic Way" from the Nordic Council of Ministers zooms in on the latest results from three major initiatives on the reuse of textiles, plastic recycling and food waste. The projects point towards a big potential in these areas for both environmental benefits and job growth in the Nordic region.