Statement from the Nordic Prime Ministers’ meeting at Lake Mývatn, Iceland

We, the Nordic Prime Ministers, reaffirm our commitment to the strong co-operation that exists between our countries. Nordic co-operation has long traditions and has produced important results in many fields, both within the formal framework of the Nordic Council of Ministers and in our informal co-operation.

26 May 2014

We, the Nordic Prime Ministers, reaffirm our commitment to the strong co-operation that exists between our countries. Nordic co-operation has long traditions and has produced important results in many fields, both within the formal framework of the Nordic Council of Ministers and in our informal co-operation.

Developments in Ukraine, during the past few months, give reasons for grave concern, in particular for security and energy related issues, and in terms of respect for fundamental principles of international law. This new context calls for stronger Nordic as well as European and transatlantic co-operation. Yesterday´s presidential elections were an important step towards increased stability in the country.

The European economy is slowly recovering although challenges remain. The economic crisis has once again demonstrated the viability and relevance of the Nordic model with open societies, thriving economies, highly developed welfare systems, small economic differences, equal opportunities and a flexible labour market. These hallmarks of our societies reflect our common values, which are based on democratic principles and respect for human rights.

This is, however, no time for complacency. We must maintain and improve the competitiveness of our economies while safeguarding and developing our welfare states to address the challenges of the 21st century. Nordic co-operation is an obvious platform for this work.

When we stand together, we are in a stronger position to address climate change, including in the Arctic, and to provide policy input to the European arena on other major political challenges of our time, such as economic growth, welfare issues, education and sustainable energy production and supply.

There is potential for more informal policy co-ordination between our governments, and for greater Nordic visibility and influence. Better use of our co-operation within the Nordic Council of Ministers in areas such as bio-economy development, health co-operation, regional branding and competitiveness should be given the highest priority.

Our ministers for foreign affairs, security and defence, as well as our Nordic co-operation ministers, have recently agreed upon a new vision for their co-operation. At the same time, extensive reforms in the Nordic Council of Ministers are in the making and steps have been taken to reinforce Nordic co-operation and exchange of information on European and international affairs.

We reaffirm our firm belief in the importance and relevance of Nordic co-operation for the unforeseen future.