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The Nordic and Nordic-Baltic cooperation

The Nordic cooperation

We are stronger together! This is the motto for Nordic cooperation. The Nordic countries have a strong and well-functioning cooperation, which is providing a good framework for citizens and businesses in the Nordic countries. The cooperation is also a strength on the global stage and the Nordic countries want to share experience to tackle global challenges. You can read more about the prime ministers’ initiative “Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges” here.

The Nordic cooperation is one of the most comprehensive forms for regional cooperation globally. It comprises Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the Faroes Islands, Greenland and Åland.

Historically, the Nordic cooperation started as an international cooperation on grassroots’ level, where The NORDEN Association (Foreningen Norden), among others, has laid the foundation for cooperation and community spirit in the Nordic countries.

The Nordic cooperation has both a formal and an informal dimension. Both dimensions include cooperation on ministerial level, among parliamentarians and on the level of civil servants.

The formal Nordic cooperation

The formal – or institutionalised – Nordic cooperation takes place both in the framework of the Nordic Council, the parliamentarians’ forum for cooperation, and in the framework of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the governmental forum. The Nordic cooperation includes the five Nordic countries as well as the Faroes Islands, Greenland and Åland. The so-called Helsingfors agreement from 1 July 20162 forms the judicial basis for the cooperation.

Nordic Council – the parliamentarians’ forum for cooperation

The Nordic Council was established in 1952 and consists of 87 members elected by their respective parliaments. Parliamentarians from Greenland, the Faroes Islands and Åland participate as members of the Danish and Finnish delegation. The presidium is responsible for day-to-day management; it consists of a president, a vice-president and 12 additional members.

The Nordic Council’s task is to take initiatives and advise the Nordic ministers as well as to supervise the Nordic governments’ implementation of decisions on Nordic cooperation. The Council meets annually in plenary, where also governments’ representatives participate in the debates on current Nordic topics.

Read more on the Nordic Council.

Nordic Council of Ministers – the governments’ forum for cooperation

The Nordic Council of Ministers was established in 1971. The Council is a classic example for international cooperation, where decisions are taken by unanimity among member countries. The presidency of the Council of Ministers rotates among the five Nordic countries for one year at a time. The Secretary General and a Secretariat, located in Copenhagen, support the presidency.

The Nordic Council of Minister’s task is to administer the cooperation between the Nordic governments and Greenland’s, the Faroes’ and Åland’s steering organs. Within the Council of Minister’s budget, a number of projects and programmes is financed on topics where joint Nordic activities lead to synergies.

The prime ministers have the overall responsibility for the cooperation within the Council of Ministers, but day-to-day management is delegated to the ministers for Nordic cooperation. The ministers for Nordic cooperation meet four to five times per year. But also the prime ministers have regular meetings, normally to times a year.

The Council of Ministers includes different council formations covering ten different sectors.

On the “Hello Norden” homepage you can find information and ask questions related to moving, studying and working in the Nordic countries.

Informal Nordic cooperation

The informal Nordic cooperation covers mostly those sectors, where there is no formal council formation. Examples include regular meetings on foreign policy (the so-called N5 format), defence policy and development cooperation.

The Nordic countries’ embassies and representations have developed a comprehensive informal and practical. The joint Nordic embassies in Berlin and the Nordic House in Yangon are good examples.

Nordic-Baltic cooperation

During the last couple of years, the Baltic countries have been linked ever closer to the formal and informal Nordic cooperation. Today the five Nordic (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) cooperate in an informal and close way. In the framework of this cooperation, Nordic and Baltic prime ministers and foreign ministers meet annually in order to discuss questions of regional interest in the so-called NB8 format.