This is a time of opportunity for the Nordic Region. Interest in Nordic solutions, Nordic culture, and the positive things our social model has achieved has never been greater.
Now it’s time for the region’s businesses, civil society, and political leadership to grab the bull by the horns. Many stakeholders have already seen and are already capitalising on this wealth of opportunities. The Nordic Council of Ministers is now far better equipped to serve as a tool for leveraging the added value offered by Nordic co-operation. We’re currently in the process of summing up the “Nytt Norden” reform programme, which has sharpened Nordic intergovernmental co-operation and put it in a better position for the future. We’ve achieved this through:
Politicisation: We have explored key areas of co-operation in detail in order to leverage the potential of strong Nordic co-operation over the next five to ten years. Proposals from these studies now characterise the political agenda in areas such as health, the labour market, and energy. New policy initiatives have been launched and implemented in fields including digitalisation, integration, and preventing radicalisation. Emphasis has been placed on analyses and projects that provide a basis for political solutions and stronger co-operation. 2018 will see a special focus on co-operation on legislation, on increased mobility between the countries, on the climate and environment, and on the social sector.
Streamlining: Decision-making paths, working methods, and structures have been modernised to shorten the distance between initiative and outcome. A budget reform has ensured the better management of goals and performance, and improved flexibility. The Nordic institutions have a clearer governance structure and contribute directly to the implementation of adopted policies. Administrative expenses have been reduced.
Internationalisation: There is now wide-ranging investment in the joint profiling and branding of the Nordic Region abroad based on a joint strategy. International issues are on the agenda of all the sector-specific councils of ministers. The Nordic countries are working together more systematically on EU issues that are of joint interest, as well as in key international negotiations, such as those relating to the climate and the environment. Meanwhile, international demand for Nordic solutions to global societal challenges means they are widely disseminated.
The Nordic Region is in demand. Those living in the Nordic Region want more Nordic co-operation. Through our reform efforts, Nordic co-operation is now better positioned to leverage the potential of this Nordic momentum.
And so my appeal to the Nordic Region is this: Grab the bull by the horns!