The Nordic Council believes that the better co-ordination of transport and infrastructure projects is crucial for the Nordic countries’ vision of a sustainable and integrated Nordic Region. Back in 2018, the Nordic Council formulated a proposal to re-establish a special ministerial council for transportation within the Nordic Council of Ministers. This initiative aims to improve efficiency and create the conditions for future sustainable transportation infrastructure in the region. It involves solutions such as the electrification of the maritime and aviation sectors, as well as enhanced cross-border public transportation.
Stepping up the pressure on Sweden
When the proposal was discussed at the 2022 Session of the Nordic Council, although the mood music from Iceland, Denmark, and Norway was positive, there was a lack of support from Finland and Sweden. But with the new government, Finland has changed its position. According to Finland’s government plan, the co-ordination of the Nordic countries’ transportation systems should be promoted through a new ministerial council dedicated to transportation. So, Sweden is now the only one left to get on board.
“Nordic Council parliamentarians, including Swedish MPs, businesses, and the border regions, have long advocated for a ministerial council with Nordic co-ordination of transport and infrastructure. However, the impression is that Sweden’s interest is lukewarm,” said Kjell-Arne Ottosson, Chair of the Nordic Council’s Committee for Growth and Development during the committee’s meeting with the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation today.
The business sector is increasingly calling for common Nordic strategies and initiatives in the transport sector. Even the Nordic Logistics Association, representing 15,000 members from haulage and logistics companies, states in a new opinion article in Altinget that: “A Nordic ministerial council for transportation will promote the green transition throughout the Nordic Region. However, it became clear in Oslo today that Sweden’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Jessica Roswell, isn’t convinced that this is the way forwards. She highlighted that there are already many good initiatives and collaborative projects in place to promote co-ordinated transportation in the region.”
Can we expect a decision soon?
By February, a new analysis of the current co-ordination of transportation and infrastructure between the Nordic countries should be ready. The ambition is for the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation to present the results of the report at the Theme Session of the Nordic Council in April. The committee requested a clear timeline for when a final decision can be expected from the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation regarding a new ministerial council. That was something the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation could not answer at this time. The committee sees a positive development in the matter and hopes that it will result in Sweden also coming on board.