Nordic Council invites prime ministers to discuss societal security

18.09.20 | News
Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir
Iris Dager
At the 2019 Session of the Nordic Council, the Council adopted a strategy for societal, which it wants the countries to implement as soon as possible. The Council had asked the governments to comment on the proposals in the strategy, and a number of councils of ministers have now responded to the request. The Nordic Council is not satisfied with the responses and is now planning the following steps: a dialogue meeting with the prime ministers, and a dialogue meeting with the ministers responsible for contingency planning.

Among other things, the Council has asked the governments to state how the Nordic Council of Ministers can best be involved in and support Nordic co-operation on foreign affairs and security policy, including societal security and contingency planning.

In their responses, the governments showed very little understanding of the ambitions behind the strategy and felt that the Council of Ministers plays a big enough role as things stand.

“The strategy is the result of careful preparation. In light of the current situation, it is more important that ever that its recommendations are actually implemented,” says the President of the Nordic Council, Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir.

“We’re both disappointed and surprised by the responses we have received from the governments, and are now inviting the prime ministers to a meeting to discuss the issue,” she continues.

We’re both disappointed and surprised by the responses we have received from the governments

Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, President of the Nordic Council

The Presidium notes that the importance of societal security has come to the fore during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted the governments to look at whether who does what in Nordic co-operation on contingency planning is clearly enough formulated to be truly effective in a crisis,” says Wille Rydman, who chaired the Nordic Council working group that reviewed the governments’ answers. 

“In our opinion, COVID-19 has demonstrated that this is not the case. Yet in spite of this, the governments seem unwilling to change current practices,” he stresses.


The Presidium hopes to arrange a meeting with the prime ministers at the end of October during the Nordic summit week. The traditional Session is not taking place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  However, political processes do not stop, and the Nordic Council is arranging a raft of digital meetings to take place during week 44 when the Session would normally have been held.

The Presidium made its decisions on these matters at its meeting on 18 September.