Nordic Freedom of Movement Council gets new Swedish representative

26.09.23 | News
Sveriges representant i Gränshinderrådet, Anders Ahnlid.
Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

Anders Ahnlid is Sweden’s new representative in the Freedom of Movement Council.

Anders Ahnlid, Director-General of the Swedish National Board of Trade, has been appointed as the new Swedish representative in the Freedom of Movement Council. Ahnlid begins his appointment today.

Swedish Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Minister for European Union Affairs, Jessika Roswall, has appointed Ahnlid as Sweden’s representative in the Freedom of Movement Council. His appointment runs from 27 September 2023 to 31 December 2026.

The Freedom of Movement Council is tasked with facilitating freedom of movement for individuals and companies in the Nordic Region. The goal is to make it as trouble-free as possible to move or commute to, study in, or work in another Nordic country, or to run a business across borders.

“We need to accelerate efforts to remove obstacles to freedom of movement if we’re to achieve the vision of the Nordic Region being the most integrated region in the world. This is a priority issue for the government, not least during the upcoming Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2024. With his extensive experience and knowledge, Anders Ahnlid will provide a very useful contribution to these efforts,” says Jessika Roswall.

International experience

In Anders Ahnlid, the Freedom of Movement Council gains an internationally experienced figure. Ahnlid has held several senior positions within the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among other things, he has previously headed Sweden’s representation in the European Union in Brussels, headed the Swedish OECD delegation in Paris, and headed the foreign council for trade affairs. Ahnlid was also Sweden’s ambassador to Finland from 2016 to 2020.

“Efforts to remove obstacles to freedom of movement are fundamentally about ensuring a competitive Nordic Region. This is also of great importance for Sweden. I’m very grateful for the confidence shown in me and look forward to helping to make it easier for people and companies to operate throughout the Nordics,” says Ahnlid.

Want to see closer Nordic co-operation on trade

The Freedom of Movement Council is familiar to Ahnlid. As recently as May 2022, he presented to the council a report by the National Board of Trade about the opportunities for stepping up Nordic co-operation on trade. At the time, Ahnlid said:

“We want to realise the Nordic prime ministers’ vision for the Nordic Region to be the most integrated and sustainable region in the world by 2030. So there are strong grounds for stepping things up a gear and facilitating trade between the Nordic countries and being more forceful when it comes to removing the obstacles to freedom of movement that still arise.”

The Freedom of Movement Council has ten members. They come from all the Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. Although the members are appointed by their respective governments, the council is politically independent. The Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers also sits on the council, as well as a representative from the Nordic Council.

Anders Ahnlid replaces former Minister for Rural Affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht, in the Freedom of Movement Council.