The agenda of the first day in Helsinki was dominated by a number of current issues, such as disinformation and cyber security as a threat to democracy, as well as climate issues and the EU’s Green Deal, which is about making the EU the world’s first climate-neutral region by 2050. The Nordic Region’s vision is to be the most sustainable region in the world by 2030.
Common areas of interest
The meeting in Helsinki on 21 and 22 February was hosted by Erkki Tuomioja, President of the Nordic Council in 2022.
“This year, the Nordic Council celebrates it’s 70th anniversary, and we’re pleased that 2022 will also mark the start of strengthened formal relations with the European Parliament. Our meeting in Helsinki is testament to the Nordic Council’s interest in the EU as an important partner in the Nordic Council’s international co-operation. Such collaboration can yield future results in common areas of interest such as democracy, the climate, and the Arctic,” says Erkki Tuomioja.
At the meeting, there was also a discussion on the future structure and framework for formal relations between the Nordic Council and the European Parliament, as well as the EU Arctic policy.
Visits to NIB and NEFCO
The second day consisted of meetings with the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). In addition, the parliamentarians visited the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
The delegation from the European Parliament was led by Christel Schaldemose from Denmark, who is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.
“The Nordic Council is an important partner for the European Parliament. The Nordic Council is focused on making the Nordic Region green, competitive, and socially sustainable. Thanks to strong Nordic traditions in these areas, I’m certain that we can share our positive experiences with each other. We’re seeing an increase in disinformation in our societies, and so this is an important issue to work together on. In the European Parliament, we’re currently negotiating new legislation on cyber security, digitalisation, and tech. These are major issues that will define our future. I’m pleased with the good dialogue and exchange of views that we have with the Nordic Council,” says Christel Schaldemose.
Formal annual meeting
The Nordic Council is an active international player and works closely with several countries and organisations. The EU is a priority partner. The Nordic Council’s strategy for 2018 to 2022 states, among other things, that the EU is a particularly important organisation for the Nordic Region. Consequently, the Nordic Council wants to strengthen contact with MEPs and other EU institutions. The Nordic Council has also set up an office in Brussels to strengthen co-operation with the EU.
According to the agreement between the Nordic Council and the European Parliament, the parties will hold a formal meeting once a year, in addition to seminars and other joint meetings on selected topics.