Nordic funding package on back of corona crisis

17.04.20 | News
Mogens Jensen
Ask Lyno-Hansen
The Nordic countries are to launch research collaboration and a range of other tangible measures to help the region out of the difficult situation caused by COVID-19. An extra meeting of the Ministers for Co-operation (MR-SAM) on 17 April decided to prioritise these new initiatives in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ budget for 2020 and 2021.

Some of the funding will go directly to the health sector. The actual nature of the support and the sums involved will be determined later, and capacity will be made available to focus on the consequences of the crisis for health care and for other parts of society in the years to come. The objectives will include ensuring the most effective possible exchange of information and knowledge and directing resources where they will do the most good. 

Nordic ministers have been in continuous contact with each other during the corona crisis, both bilaterally and in a series of unofficial meetings.

Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands hold the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2020. The Danish Minister for Co-operation, Mogens Jensen, says that the countries have used Nordic co-operation effectively to deal with the COVID-19 situation. 

“We benefit enormously from exchanging knowledge and information and working together on a range of subjects. Health care is an obvious example but the same is true in other spheres – especially concerning the consequences of the crisis. Our objective is to build our societies up in a green and sustainable manner after the crisis,” he says.

“Since Denmark holds the Presidency this year, it is important for us that the Nordic Council of Ministers is able to react quickly to challenges as they arise. I am pleased that the extraordinary meeting today agreed to prioritise measures related to COVID-19. The exact nature of the measures will be fleshed out in the near future.” 

Work continues on the vision

Mogens Jensen is also keen to stress the importance of adapting the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers to fit the vision laid out by the prime ministers in autumn 2019. 

“The work on action plans for a green, competitive and socially sustainable Nordic Region continues. Our aim is to be even better at delivering political results in areas important to the people of the region. This current crisis has not made this work any less important. Our goal is even closer Nordic co-operation after the crisis.” 

Funding for health and research

A research programme by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ research body NordForsk was also included in the programme of measures discussed at the meeting. The Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Paula Lehtomäki, is pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

“We are glad that our countries make good use of the strong, established structures for co-operation built up by the Council of Ministers,” she says.

Work continues on freedom of movement

The ministers also followed up on a previous decision to address tangible problems faced by cross-border commuters.

The Nordic Council of Ministers has been providing the national governments with information on the challenges faced by these commuters for several years. Some problems have been solved but others remain, including tax issues. The meeting agreed that this work would continue to be a top priority.

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