The good informal relationship that the Nordic Council already enjoys with the European Parliament will be enhanced by formalising the terms for it. The relationship will follow the same practice for interparliamentary work that the European Parliament already has with Iceland, Norway, and the West Nordic Council.
“Establishing a formal annual dialogue with the European Parliament is a highly important step. A closer working relationship with the EU is one of the priorities in the Nordic Council’s international strategy, and it is gratifying that we have now made tangible progress. What happens in the EU is of great relevance to the whole of the Nordic Region, even though not all of our countries are member states. Working more closely together can only be a positive move,” says Bertel Haarder, President of the Nordic Council in 2021.
More questions on the table
The agenda for the annual meetings will include the Arctic, the Conference on the Future of the EU, the EU’s Green Deal and disinformation and cyber security. Other items may be added depending on current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever since opening an office in Brussels in 2017, the Nordic Council has aimed at closer co-operation with the EU. In 2019, the Presidium decided to seek formal interparliamentary relations with the European Parliament. A formal request was submitted in April 2020, and it was approved a month later.
The EU Parliament delegation responsible for working with the EEA (D-EEA) will be the Nordic Council’s formal counterpart. The President, Bertel Haarder, the Vice-President, Annette Lind, and the two EU rapporteurs, Oddný Hardardóttir and Linda Modig, attended the meeting on behalf of the Nordic Council.
Presidium meets Nordic EU committees
The Nordic Council also held another EU-related meeting recently. On Monday, the Presidium met with the Nordic parliamentary committees responsible for the EU and foreign affairs. The digital meeting followed up on discussions in Helsinki in 2019.
The agenda for the meeting included Nordic interparliamentary co-operation on EU issues, including the need to work more closely together after Brexit, Nordic contributions to the Conference on the Future of Europe, health and vaccine coordination, inequality and social challenges due to the pandemic, EU Arctic policy and ways of improving co-operation between EU committees and the Nordic Council.