All matters of political policy except foreign and security policies, which are the responsibility of the Presidium, are dealt with by one of the committees.
From proposal to decision
Any proposal presented by a member or a group of members is referred to the relevant committee for consideration. The committee then opts either to send the proposal to national agencies and request their input, hold a hearing with experts or in some other way seek out the facts that speak for and against the proposal.
The committee subsequently submits a recommendation to the Presidium or to Session, requesting a recommendation be put to the Nordic governments or the Council of Ministers.
A committee is also entitled to investigate whether there are grounds for proposals for new Nordic co-operation initiatives. They can set up temporary sub-committees or working groups for specific tasks. This allows some of the members to enhance their knowledge prior to deciding whether the committee should proceed and try to draw up a proposal. Sub-committees and/or working groups can also be mandated to draw up specific proposals on behalf of the committee. Committees sometimes host seminars and conferences to draw attention to a topic or to join in the debate on a particular Nordic issue.
The committees have up to 18 members, including the chair and deputy chair, and meetings are not held in public. However, conferences and seminars are often open to other people apart from the members and specially invited guests.
National and international contacts
The committees work with the corresponding committees in the national parliaments as well as with the Baltic Assembly, the inter-parliamentary body for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and other relevant international organisations.
The Control Committee
The main remit of the Control Committee is to monitor the progress of activities funded by Nordic budgets and ensure that decisions are implemented. The Election Committee organises elections at the Session.
Elections at the Session
The chairs, deputy chairs and members of the committees, the Presidium and the Control Committee are elected at the Session of the Nordic Council for the next calendar year.