Ukraine debate prolonged the Theme Session

08.04.14 | News
Temasession 2014
Audunn Nielsson/
The political situation in Ukraine prolonged the Nordic Council Theme Session in Akureyri in Iceland. There was agreement across party lines that the dire situation in the east is a matter of concern for Nordic co-operation and that this was a reason to have an extra long current affairs debate.

Defence and foreign policy is not a formal part of Nordic co-operation, but this does not prevent this type of issue being addressed, and during the Theme Session there was an intense debate on how the Nordic Council could show its support for the democratisation process in Ukraine.

"This is a unique situation in the world, and a unique situation for us", said this year's Presiden Karin Åström, (S) in her opening speech. She was supported by Vice-President Hans Wallmark (M) who stressed the importance of debate since Nordic co-operation did not have any manual for situations like the present.

Several speakers highlighted the historical perspective and said that a similar situation to what is now happening in Ukraine now has not been seen since World War II, and that it is 25 years since the fall of the wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Nordic countries were the first to recognise the liberated Baltic states, and in that spirit it was thought that Nordic co-operation ought to act now. It should, moreover, be completely in line with the EU, NATO and the respective Nordic countries. 

"We are not a defence or foreign policy union, but a community of common values which works because of a belief in fundamental public international law", said Hans Wallmark.

Several of the speakers at the Theme Session referred to the basis of international law for a reaction to what is happening in Ukraine. Nordic co-operation, which was born out of the shadows of WWII and the subsequent Cold War, have shown that democracy and peaceful co-operation benefit people's freedom and development in countries.

Nordic co-operation has carried out a vital dialogue with MPs and other networks in Russia for several years.

"It is of the utmost importance that this dialogue be defended and maintained as far as possible", said Bertel Haarder (V). "We can show how an open dialogue is a fundamental freedom and right in a democratic society."

The Theme Session's statement about the current situation in Ukraine