The work is based on the joint values that constitute the foundation for the Nordic welfare model – equal opportunities, social solidarity and security regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, belief, functional capacity, age or sexual orientation – including social rights and the principle that everyone should have equal access to health care and social services, education and culture, including vulnerable social groups.
Objectives and visions
The overarching policy framework for Nordic co-operation on health and social affairs is set out in the Co-operation Programme 2017–2020. The Programme is supplemented by annual action plans.
Forms of co-operation
The ministers gather at least once a year to discuss and make joint decisions in areas where Nordic co-operation generates greater value than the individual countries could achieve on their own – this is known as Nordic synergy. The Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Health and Social Affairs (EK-S), which consists of representatives from all of the Nordic countries, meets at least five times a year. It takes care of the practical work and preparations for meetings of the council of ministers. The Nordic Council of Ministers' Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day running of Nordic inter-governmental co-operation. The Secretariat includes the Department of Knowledge and Welfare (KV) which prepares questions for submission to the Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs (MR-S) and the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Health and Social Affairs (EK-S). The Secretariat is also responsible for implementing the decisions made by the relevant bodies.
Institutions and co-operation bodies
The Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs (MR-S) funds one institution and a number of other bodies in the social and health sector that help achieve the sector's policy objectives.