The Nordic prime ministers and the heads of government of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland have the ultimate responsibility for inter-governmental work. The Nordic Council of Ministers for Co-operation (MR-SAM) has the political responsibility for co-ordinating co-operation. MR-SAM is chaired by the minister from the country holding the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
There are 11 councils of ministers. Ministers from the five Nordic nations, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland, are responsible for the policy areas covered by the various councils of ministers.
MR-SAM are assisted by civil servants who make up the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Co-operation. They are responsible for day-to-day co-operation.
The Secretary General is the most senior official in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretariat.
The Nordic institutions, such as the Culture Fund, Nordic Culture Point, Nordic Innovation, NordForsk and Nordic Energy Research, are headed up by a director or managing director while the Nordic Investment Bank's highest official is called both the president and managing director.
The members of the Nordic Council are elected from and by their national parliaments. The Council's highest decision-making body is the Presidium. The Presidium has a President and a Vice-President, both of whom elected at the Session for one calendar year. The President and Vice-President represent the country hosting the next Session.
The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Nordic Council's committees are elected at the Session, and the appointments reflect a balance of countries, party groups and gender.
The highest senior official in the Nordic Council is the Secretary General who runs the Secretariat.
The Federation of Norden Associations (FNF) organises grassroots support for Nordic co-operation. It is run by a Presidium consisting of the chairs of the national associations. The senior official in the is the Secretary General. The senior officials in the national associations are called the Secretary General or Director.
A number of well-known Nordic politicians have been actively involved in co-operation over the years. Notable past presidents of the Nordic Council include Olof Palme and Karin Söder (S), Kåre Willoch and Trygve Bratteli (N), Karl-August Fagerholm and Vieno Jussi Sukselainen (Fin), Anker Jørgensen and Jens Otto Krag (DK) and Matthías Á. Mathiesen and Páll Pétursson (Ice).