The Nordic Council looks into updating Helsinki Treaty

27.06.23 | News
Nordiska rådets session 2017 i Helsingfors
Magnus Fröderberg/
At its summer meeting in Trondheim, the Presidium of the Nordic Council has decided to set up a working group to investigate the need for an update of the Helsinki Treaty, the agreement on co-operation between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, which forms the basis for Nordic co-operation.

The treaty was last updated in 1996 in connection with the accession of Finland and Sweden to the EU. Several opinions in the Nordic Region have been tabled stating that it’s time for an update, not least in view of the changed security situation in the Nordic Region.  

Several potential new areas of co-operation

The mandate of the working group is to investigate the need to update the Helsinki Treaty, and to specify which areas may need to be updated. The objective is to ensure that the Helsinki Treaty serves as the best possible framework for stronger Nordic co-operation now and in the future. The working group must assess the need to include any new policy areas in the treaty such as security, emergency preparedness, and defence and foreign policy. The working group will also assess the need for a linguistic update.  

Working group with broad Nordic representation

The working group shall report to the Presidium on an ongoing basis and will present a draft Presidium proposal outlining the views of the Nordic Council on the need to update the Helsinki Treaty. In addition to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, parliamentarians from the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland will also participate in the working group. The Nordic Youth Council has a representative in the group, too. 

The working group consists of nine people: 

Norway: Jorodd Asphjell (Social Democrat Group) 
Denmark: Annette Lind (Social Democrat Group)  
Iceland: Hanna Katrín Friðriksson (Centre Group) 
Sweden: Lars Püss (Conservative Group)  
Finland: Members will be chosen later once the new Finnish delegation has been constituted  
Greenland: Mariane Paviasen (Nordic Green Left) 
Faroe Islands: Johan Dahl (Centre Group)  
Åland: Mikael Lindholm (Centre Group)  
NYC Rasmus Emborg 

The working group shall also discuss which external experts, if any, should be involved in the assessment work.      

The Nordic Council Presidium is the highest decision-making body in the Nordic Council between the annual Sessions, and has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Nordic Council. The Presidium leads and co-ordinates the work between the councils’ various bodies, has responsibility for overall political and administrative issues, draws up activity plans and budgets, and is responsible for general foreign affairs and security policy matters.