The framework for Nordic co-operation is Vision 2030, which has been adopted by the Nordic prime ministers. The goal of the vision is to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. An ambitious redistribution of funds is being implemented ahead of 2024 to support the three strategic priorities of this vision: Social sustainability, competitiveness and – not least – the green transition.
Increased funding for areas of education and culture
The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers have negotiated concrete initiatives in the budget, and agreement has been reached on increasing funding for the areas of education and culture, for instance. The agreement has been settled at DKK 20.5 million and sets aside DKK 10.5 million for Nordic civil society organisations and associations. On top of this, DKK 8 million is earmarked for leading Nordic stakeholders within education and culture. Finally, priority is also given to Nordic cultural exchange outside the Nordic countries. The agreement also means that the process for allocating part of the funds will make it easier for relevant stakeholders to apply for the funds.
Iceland’s minister for Nordic Co-operation and chair of the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, says:
“I’m really happy that I and the presidency of the Nordic Council have had good and constructive negotiations that have resulted in an agreement which is in line with the vision of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and which also takes into account the aspirations and initiatives of the Nordic Council. This agreement strengthens the Nordic institutions. At the same time, funds are set aside to continue the involvement of the many valuable stakeholders who are working with the Nordic agenda within and beyond the Nordic Region.”
The President of the Nordic Council Jorodd Asphjell states:
“The outcome of the negotiations demonstrates that the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers stand together in efforts to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Similarly, the negotiations are based on a mutual understanding of the absolutely central role that education and culture play in the success of these efforts.”
In the spring of 2023, political discussions were held between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council regarding the budget for 2024. These discussions resulted in an agreement on the following initiatives totalling DKK 20.5 million.
Funding for Nordic civil society organisations and non-profit associations (DKK 10,500,000):
Civil society is a cornerstone of the Nordic societies and many organizations play a special role in Nordic co-operation. In 2021, a programme was established with a view to strengthening civil society in the Nordic countries. The programme will provisionally run up to and including 2024.
In order to contribute to an increased exchange of knowledge and culture, this programme is being scaled up and adapted.
The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation are therefore allocating DKK 10,500,000 to the programme in addition to the funds allocated in the budget for 2024. Based on the discussions between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council, the programme can support a wide range of beneficiaries.
The following amounts are earmarked for 2024:
• DKK 3,250,000 for cultural co-operation in the Nordic Region, including orchestral co-operation and musical collaboration across national borders in the region, as well as spreading knowledge about Nordic literature.
• DKK 3,250,000 for education, knowledge-sharing and language comprehension, including activities related to spreading knowledge about the Nordic Region and other activities related to the region at educational institutions (e.g. primary schools, colleges, universities), supporting young people’s understanding of other Nordic languages, and providing educational support to raise awareness of the Nordic perspective in the field of journalism.
• DKK 1,000,000 for meetings and networks that strengthen civil society’s voice and the opportunity of organisations to influence society, including by way of meetings, conferences and workshops with a Nordic theme, as well as for the facilitation and exchange of ideas and knowledge between various civil society organisations in the Nordic Region.
• Up to DKK 3,000,000 for youth initiatives in the field of the environment and climate. Please also see the section on a “youth fund” below. If these funds are not used for this purpose, they can be used for the other initiatives mentioned above.
Civil society organisations within all areas of society, including voluntary associations, foundations, charities, citizen organisations, interest organisations, labour market organisations, religious communities, social or co-operative enterprises or NGOs will be able to apply for funding for activities related to the thematic areas mentioned about. Projects must involve participants from at least three Nordic countries.
Funding for stakeholders responsible for Nordic culture and education (DKK 8,000,000 in total):
There are a number of key stakeholders who are the backbone of Nordic co-operation in the field of culture and education. In order to fund their work, the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation are allocating DKK 8,000,000 in addition to the funds allocated in the budget for 2024.
The funds are distributed as follows:
• DKK 1,000,000 to the Nordic House in Reykjavik (NOREY)
• DKK 1,000,000 to the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands (NLH)
• DKK 350,000 to the Nordic Institute in Åland (NIPÅ)
• DKK 650,000 to the cultural funding programme governed by the Nordic Institute in Greenland (NAPA)
• DKK 2,500,000 to NordForsk (including for research on antibiotic resistance)
• DKK 1,000,000 to Nordic Culture Point (including for cultural activities aimed at children and young people in the Nordic Region)
• DKK 1,500,000 to the Nordic Culture Fund
In addition to the above initiatives, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Nordic Co-operation – in continuation of the dialogue with the Nordic Council – notes the following:
• the environment and climate sector, as part of the 2023 budget compromise, set aside DKK 3,000,000 for a so-called “Nordic youth fund for climate and biodiversity”, where young people can apply for grants from a pool to organise or participate in Nordic activities that promote Nordic young people’s commitment to the climate and
biodiversity agenda. The funds can be used up to and including 2025, and the Nordic Council of Ministers for Nordic Co-operation will therefore follow the progress of the work with the pool in 2024 and keep the Nordic Council informed.
If the allocated funds are exhausted during 2023, the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate can request additional funding for the “fund” in 2024 from the funds allocated to youth initiatives within the climate and environment in the budget compromise for 2024. Please refer to the above.
If these funds are also exhausted, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Nordic Co-operation will look positively at the possibilities of finding additional funding.
• It has been agreed that the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation will set aside DKK 1,000,000 to strengthen opportunities for Nordic cultural exchange outside the Nordic countries.
• The Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs is allocating up to DKK 1,000,000 for a report on child poverty in the Nordics as a follow-up to the Nordic Council’s recommendation 21/2022 on children and young people who grow up in persistently low-income settings.
• The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation, as part of the 2023 budget compromise, set aside DKK 500,000 to follow up on Jan-Erik Enestam’s report on strengthening Nordic co-operation on civil crisis preparedness, as well as DKK 250,000 to strengthen work on barriers to freedom of movement between the Nordic countries. The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation will follow progress in the work on crisis co-operation and barriers to freedom of movement and keep the Nordic Council informed.
• It has been agreed that there must be dialogue between the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers in order to reach the greatest possible common understanding regarding budget frameworks and principles for the forthcoming budget period.
• It has been agreed to continue the dialogue with the Nordic Council about establishing a possible ministerial council for transport.
• It has been agreed that the current and future presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers will meet with the
current and future presidency of the Nordic Council at the end of 2023 to discuss efforts relating to the Nordic budget going forwards.