About the Nordic Council

Overblik over Plenum, Stortinget, Nordisk Råds Session 2018

Overblik over Plenum, Stortinget, Nordisk Råds Session 2018

Johannes Jansson
The members of the Nordic Council are driven, first and foremost, by the desire to make the Nordic Region one in which people want to live and work. This is also the primary objective of the ideas and proposals for co-operation put to the Council.

The Nordic Council has 87 elected members. Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have 20 members each. Two of the Danish members are from the Faroe Islands and two of the Finnish members come from Åland. Iceland has seven members.

Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were founder members of the Nordic Council when it was formed in 1952. Finland joined in 1955, the Faroe Islands and Åland in 1970 and Greenland in 1984. The Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland have exerted greater influence on Nordic co-operation since the Åland Document was adopted by the ministers for Nordic co-operation in Mariehamn, Åland, on 5 September 2007.

Members, Sessions and the Presidency

The Nordic Council is made up of members of the national parliaments nominated by their party groups. There are no direct elections.

The Nordic Council, which is run by the Presidium, comes together for two annual meetings – the Ordinary Session and the Theme Session, at which the members make decisions on issues that they call on the Nordic governments to implement.

The President, Vice-President, and members of the Presidium for the forthcoming year are elected at the Ordinary Session every autumn. The Presidency alternates between the countries. The country holding the Presidency of the Nordic Council hosts the Ordinary Session.The Theme Session is held every spring in the country holding the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.


The ongoing political work of the Nordic Council is done by committees and party groups.

The Nordic Council is served by a Secretariat that shares premises in Copenhagen with the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers. There is also a national secretariat in each of the Nordic parliaments.

The Secretary General

The interparliamentary Nordic Council is headed by the Secretary General, assisted by the Secretariat in Copenhagen. The current Secretary General is Kristina Háfoss, the Faroe Islands.

The Secretary General and Secretariat prepare the business processed by the Nordic Council.

The Secretary General submits reports to the Nordic Council’s executive body, the Presidium and draws up the agenda for Presidium meetings along with the President of the Nordic Council.

The Secretary General and the President also prepare agenda items on which decisions are to be made.

For the items on the agenda not requiring decisions, the Secretary General consults the Secretariat, which consists of the heads of the secretariats of the national delegations and the party group secretaries.

The Presidium may delegate decision-making on certain issues to the Secretary General.

Former secretary generals

2013–2021 Britt Bohlin, Sweden

2007–2013 Jan-Erik Enestam, Finland

1999–2007 Frida Nokken, Norway

1996–1999 Berglind Ásgeirsdóttir, Iceland 

1994–1996 Anders Wenström, Sweden

1990–1994 Jostein Osnes, Norway

1987–1989 Gerhard af Schultén, Finland

1982–1987 Ilkka-Christian Björklund, Finland

1977–1982 Gudmund Saxrud, Norway

1973–1977 Helge Seip, Norway

1971–1973 Emil Vindestmo, Norway

Rules of procedure and guidelines