The Nordic Region is part of a more uncertain world than when the Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council last hosted the Session five years ago. Since then, the Nordic Region has gone through the COVID-19 pandemic and found itself in a global climate crisis, and is now in the midst of a perilous security situation created by Russia’s aggression against its European neighbour, Ukraine. The values and the world order based on trust, common rules, respect for international agreements and human rights, are clearly under pressure. So, what’s the Nordic Region doing? That question was debated when the members of the Nordic Council and the Nordic prime ministers met at the 74th Session of the Nordic Council in Helsinki.
A new era in Nordic security policy?
As a consequence of Russia’s aggression in Europe, Finland and Sweden have chosen to apply for NATO membership. Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, was thankful for for the Nordic support for the application and pointed out that an increased Nordic presence in NATO could pave the way for further Nordic co-operation.
“The growing Nordic membership in NATO also creates the possibility of strengthened Nordic co-operation. We’re the freest and most peaceful nations of the world, and the principles of the free world must be defended,” said Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson.
Continued support for Ukraine from the Nordic countries
However, the summit is far from only being about Nordic security and democratic rights. It is also about Ukraine, as Nordic Council member of the Conservative Group Saara-Sofia Sirén pointed out in her question:
“How can the war against Ukraine be stopped? And how do we ensure that support for Ukraine does not wane?” This was a question that her compatriot and prime minister answered:
“The day will come when the war will end. Until then, we must provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and enforce tough sanctions against Russia. Although we cannot act for Ukraine, we can help them,” said Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland.
In the future, our focus must be on security of supply and the development of our own sustainable energy, as well as on removing our dependency on energy from authoritarian states
Security of energy supply
Access to energy was also a theme that featured during the summit. There was broad agreement that the Nordic Region must become less vulnerable in terms of its access to energy. We can make sure of that by creating our own sustainable energy security, having control over our own infrastructure, strengthening supply contingencies, and becoming independent of energy imports from Russia.
“In the future, our focus must be on security of supply and the development of our own sustainable energy, as well as on removing our dependency on energy from authoritarian states,” said Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin.
About the summit
The summit is part of the future convention that the Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council, with the President and Vice-President of the Nordic Council, Erkki Tuomioja and Lulu Ranne, have adopted for 2022.