A couple of years – and a pandemic – since the last time, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council has just conducted a survey of the Region’s feelings about co-operation.
Now, we’ve done it again. The report “Support and Disappointment: Attitudes towards Nordic co-operation” shows that the people of the Region are generally positive about Nordic co-operation, but also that many are disappointed with the coordination of the pandemic response. Despite extensive dialogue, the countries were unable to arrive at a common, Region-wide COVID strategy.
It is gratifying that so many support Nordic co-operation and the work to achieve a green Nordic Region. We must continue to build on it. But we must also acknowledge that, when it comes to coordinating the pandemic response, the high expectations were not met. We can learn from that.
The survey offers food for thought about how to develop co-operation to achieve Our Vision 2030’s goals of a green, competitive and socially sustainable Nordic Region. “The Nordic Council of Ministers is already on the ball,” says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“It is gratifying that so many support Nordic co-operation and the work to achieve a green Nordic Region. We must continue to build on it. But we must also acknowledge that, when it comes to coordinating the pandemic response, the high expectations were not met. We can learn from that. At the same time, we must look at what the population wants. This can be summed up in three words – safety, security and climate. We have already shifted the focus of our co-operation to the climate and environmental issues and are looking at how we can improve co-operation on crises,” she adds.
The Nordic Council has remained active and closely monitored developments throughout the pandemic. The Secretary General of the Nordic Council, Kristina Háfoss is pleased that the people of the Region support the Nordic parliamentarians in their political work.
“Although most people in the Nordic countries supported the entry restrictions introduced during the pandemic, the survey shows that many people place great value on freedom of movement in the Region. This sounds paradoxical, but it also illustrates the importance of free movement to the people of the Region. It also shows that parliamentarians play a crucial role in ensuring that governments work more closely together and that preparedness is better in the Nordic Region, no matter what crises we face,” she says.
It also shows that parliamentarians play a crucial role in ensuring that governments work more closely together and that preparedness is better in the Nordic Region, no matter what crises we face
A total of 3,400 people responded to the survey, which was conducted throughout the Nordic Region in May–July 2021. The results show that the population supports Nordic co-operation – in fact, many want to see more co-operation.
In this year’s survey, 86% of respondents believe that well-developed co-operation between the Nordic countries is important or very important. This is slightly lower than in 2017, when the figure was 92%.
In addition, 60% want more co-operation between the Nordic countries, while 32% think it is fine as it is. Only 1% favour less co-operation.
There has been a decrease in the number of people who think that recent international developments have made Nordic co-operation more important – in 2017, 68% agreed with this, but in 2021 the figure is 55%.
Just over 30% say that more political co-operation is the most important factor in the Nordic countries becoming linked more closely together.
One in five say more trade across borders, and slightly fewer mention enhancing the sense of Nordic affinity.
Most respondents say that fighting crime across national borders should be the top priority for political cooperation. Next were the environment and climate, defence and security issues and crisis management (for example during COVID-19). Crisis management is a new addition to the survey. The other three have all come out at the top in previous surveys.