President of the Nordic Council Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, speaker of the Icelandic Althing Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, and speaker of the Scottish parliament Ken Macintosh all took part in the meeting, which was a continuation of a visit that the Nordic Council made to the Scottish parliament in January of this year. Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have met digitally.
The pandemic also dominated the discussions. Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir said that the coronavirus crisis clearly shows the importance of co-operation between countries.
“In situations like these we see just how important Nordic and also European co-operation is. We have to learn from this crisis and realise that we ought to co-operate more on crisis management and security,” said Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, stressing that she would like to see greater co-operation with Scotland.
Ken Macintosh highlighted the good relations between Scotland and the Nordic countries, and supported the idea of increased co-operation.
Work continues despite coronavirus
Experiences of how national parliaments are functioning during the coronavirus crisis were also shared. From this it appears that distance-working is more the rule than the exception.
Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir announced that it’s full steam ahead for the Nordic Council despite the pandemic. The Presidium and the four committees are conducting their meetings digitally with participants from across the Nordic Region, and this arrangement is working well.
The Nordic countries and Scotland have traditionally had a close relationship, and the participants of the meeting agreed to maintain the good level of contact and hold more meetings in the future.
For the Nordic Council, good co-operation with both Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole are of considerable importance. The Nordic Council’s international strategy for 2018 to 2022 states explicitly that “despite Brexit, the United Kingdom is an obvious partner of the Nordic Region”.