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The Nordic governments must work together on immigration

It is time that the Nordic governments began to discuss and to co-operate on immigration and refugee policy, suggest several politicians at the Nordic Council Session in Helsinki on Monday 27 October.

Oct 27, 2008

The political lines for immigration and refugee questions are very different in the Nordic countries. This means that one country’s policy in the area has major consequences for the other countries in the region.

“There may be practical consequences for the other Nordic countries, when one country changes its immigration and refugee rules, for example, an increased influx of refuges and immigrants. A common Nordic debate in this area is necessary to achieve a stable and humanitarian migration policy”, says Ville Niinistö, Finnish MP and chair of the Citizens’ and Consumer Committee in the Nordic Council.

Immigration and refugee policies play a more central role today than before, and in the Nordic region we face common challenges in this area. The politicians believe having a Nordic immigration policy is important in order to structure and facilitate a humanitarian and sustainable migration into the Nordic countries, and challenge the Nordic governments to work together.

“We must recognise that we affect each other to such a great extent in this area that we must dare to discuss this topic within a Nordic framework and open up an avenue for the Nordic governments to co-operate on migration”, says Niinistö.

There is broad political support for the Nordic countries working together on immigration. In a debate article in several Nordic newspapers four MPs from the Conservative group, the Social Democratic group, and the Centre group sent out a request to the governments to co-operate in this area.

The Citizens’ and Consumer Committee in the Nordic Council works with issues which affect citizens and consumer rights as well as areas such as democracy, human rights and gender equality.

The Session in Helsinki is the 60th in the series. A Session of the Nordic Council is held once a year, and is one of the main events in the official calendar for Nordic co-operation. Approximately 100 parliamentarians from the five Nordic countries and the three autonomous territories, Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands, will meet to discuss important issues relating to Nordic co-operation with ministers from the Region.