“We, the Nordic health ministers, want increased co-operation to strengthen health preparedness and resilience in crisis situations in the Nordic countries and in the rest of Europe.” This is the introduction to the declaration that the health ministers have just signed. The declaration builds on the Nordic prime ministers’ joint declaration to strengthen Nordic crisis preparedness.
Intensified co-operation in several areas
With health crisis preparedness, the health ministers want to intensify co-operation in a number of priority areas:
• Exchange of health data
• Rolling situation descriptions
• Strengthened communication
• Co-ordinated emergency drills and exchange of experience
• Joint study to map innovation and the development and production capacity of vaccine production
The ministers have high ambitions for the declaration and point out that intensified co-operation under Nordic and European auspices will benefit us all.
“Times of crisis such as COVID-19 and now the war in Ukraine show us just how important strong health and welfare systems are. Although Nordic co-operation on health preparedness is good, we all agree that it must be strengthened,” said Ingvild Kjerkol, Norway’s Minister of Health and Care Services.
Times of crisis such as COVID-19 and now the war in Ukraine show us just how important strong health and welfare systems are. Although Nordic co-operation on health preparedness is good, we all agree that it must be strengthened
Nordic and European co-operation
Before the declaration was signed, the Nordic health ministers met in Stavanger and had a digital discussion with EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides. The parties debated the possibility of increasing Nordic co-operation as well as how the Nordic Region can contribute to health preparedness in the EU. For example, the Nordic Commons health data project can contribute to efforts relating to the European Health Data Space. This will benefit both the Nordic Region and Europe as a whole. In addition, the ministers mentioned the possibility of the Nordic countries helping to take on specific tasks and prepare proposals for solutions that will benefit the whole of Europe.
Experiences of COVID-19 call for closer co-operation
The Nordic ministers also discussed the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the current challenges surrounding the situation in Ukraine. The ministers agreed that the Nordic countries have a lot to learn from each other in relation to what the countries have been through and the initiatives that have been launched. European co-operation has proved necessary to deal with the crisis facing the Nordic countries. At the heart of the declaration, therefore, is that strengthened Nordic co-operation on health crisis preparedness can contribute to European co-operation.