The Nordic Council believes that the politicisation of Nordic co-operation requires a presence where there is a concentration of power and where decisions are made. Consequently, the Nordic Council’s contact with the European Parliament shall be facilitated and made visible by way of more tangible measures. A Nordic presence in the European Parliament and contact with Nordic MEPs are both extremely relevant at the moment.
A natural place to congregate
A Nordic Council office in Brussels will also provide Nordic MEPs with a natural place to congregate. In recent years, the response from Nordic MEPs has been overwhelmingly positive when representatives from the Nordic Council visited the European Parliament to discuss issues relating to the Baltic Sea Region, antibiotic resistance, fishing, and agriculture.
The initial proposal from the Centre Group was for the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers to jointly institute an office and official correspondent in Brussels so as to give Nordic co-operation more political clout and weight. This has been scaled back to just the Nordic Council.
The decision to establish an office was made during the Nordic Council Session in Copenhagen on 2 November 2016 with 38 votes in favour, and 32 votes against.
The Centre Group and most members of the Social Democratic Group voted in favour. Two members of the Social Democratic Group voted against, along with the Conservative Group, the Left-wing Socialist Green Group, and the Nordic Freedom party group.