The Nordic Council

Overblik over Plenum, Stortinget, Nordisk Råds Session 2018

Overblik over Plenum, Stortinget, Nordisk Råds Session 2018

Johannes Jansson
First and foremost, the Nordic Council’s politicians are driven by the desire to make the Nordic region one that people want to live and work in. This is also the primary objective of the ideas and proposals for co-operation that are borne out of the Nordic Council.

The Council has 87 elected members. Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden each have 20 members. Of these, two of the Danish representatives are from the Faroe Islands and two are from Greenland, while Finland has two representatives from Åland. Iceland has seven members.

Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were the founding 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 and presidency

The members of the Council are members of the national parliaments and are nominated by the party groups. There is no procedure for direct election to the Nordic Council.

The Nordic Council, which is run by a Presidium, comes together at two annual meetings – the Ordinary Session and the Theme Session, at which the Nordic politicians 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 Ordinary Session is held in the country holding the presidency of the Nordic Council. The Theme Session is held every spring in the country holding the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.


The on-going political work in the Nordic Council is conducted through committees and party groups.

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

The Secretary General

The Nordic parliamentary co-operation, the Nordic Council, is led by the Secretary General to the Nordic Council in Copenhagen with the help of staff at the Secretariat. The current Secretary General is Kristina Háfoss, the Faroe Islands.

The Secretary General with the Council Secretariat prepares the business procedures which are processed by the Nordic Council.

Preparations are made in consultation and collaboration with the Secretariat for the Nordic Council's national delegations and the party groups.

The Secretary General submits reports to the Nordic Council's executive body, the Presidium.

The agenda for the Presidium's meetings is drawn up together with the Nordic Council's President.

The Secretary General and the President also prepare the decision items on the agenda.

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

The Presidium may pass the right to make decisions on certain issues to the Secretary General.

Former Secretary Generals of the Nordic Council

2014-2021 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