“The terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen serve as a reminder that we must oppose extremism and prejudice in our Nordic societies. Freedom of speech and democracy are basic values that serve as the foundation for the open Nordic welfare states. The Nordic Council’s members come from several parties. We have a range of views and respect the fact that there must be room for differences.
We must jointly uphold the openness and freedom of expression that are so vital to the Nordic way of life. Freedom of speech is an inviolable right. The open, free and democratic Nordic societies may appear vulnerable, but it is precisely by making room for different points of view that our societies have grown strong.
The Nordic Council backs the governments of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, which have entered into an agreement to work more closely together at Nordic level to prevent radicalisation. The Nordic Council also stresses the role of local authorities and other civil society actors in these efforts.
The network will strengthen endeavours to prevent radicalisation in the individual countries. As part of this work, the countries must be able to draw on each other’s experience and work together purposefully on research projects – for example, with regard to people who travel to conflict zones abroad. It is important to prevent young people from the Nordic Region being recruited by extremist networks. Closer Nordic co-operation that addresses this shared challenge will help to bolster this work.”
The Nordic Council had originally planned to hold this session in Brussels. However, tighter security in the European Parliament following the terrorist attacks in Paris – on 7 January on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on 9 January on a Jewish supermarket – resulted in the meetings being moved to Copenhagen. On 14–15 February, Copenhagen became the scene of deadly attacks on a public meeting about satire and freedom of expression, and on the local synagogue. The Nordic Council decided to go ahead with the session in Copenhagen, but that its focus would be on the prevention of extremism.