News story | Date: 23/01/2017 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
'We are taking over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers at a time when the world is rapidly changing. Strategic Nordic cooperation is essential, and benefits all the Nordic countries,' said Minister of EEA and EU Affairs and Minister for Nordic Cooperation Frank Bakke-Jensen, who launched Norway's Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers today.
The theme of the launch, which took place in Tromsø during the Arctic Frontiers conference, was how Nordic cooperation can promote sustainable growth and innovation in the Arctic. Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Nordic Cooperation Margot Wallström and Danish Minister for Equal Opportunities and Nordic Cooperation Karen Ellemann were both present, as was Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten.
Together, the Nordic countries form the world's 11th largest economy and have a combined population of 27 million. Close and effective Nordic cooperation is important for Norway and a high priority for the Government.
'Closer Nordic cooperation is a natural response to an increasingly unpredictable global situation. We will work together to further develop the Nordic region and ensure that it remains the most integrated region in the world,' said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers rotates between the five Nordic countries and is held for a period of one year. The country holding the presidency draws up a programme that guides the work of the Council for the year. The programme for the Norwegian Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2017 focuses on three main pillars:
1. The Nordic region in transition
- We will promote competitiveness, the transition to a green, low-carbon economy, integration, and health cooperation in the Nordic region.
2. The Nordic region in Europe
- We will strengthen our cooperation on European policy. A strong Nordic voice in the European debate is good for the region and good for Europe.
3. The Nordic region in the world
- We will further develop our strategic partnership in the field of foreign policy.
'The Nordic countries face a tough period of transition over the next few decades. Under our Presidency, we will work to ensure that Nordic cooperation produces results for people living in the Nordic region. We will work with our Nordic colleagues to address key challenges such as digitisation and the transition to a green economy,' said Mr Bakke-Jensen.
More information about Nordic cooperation and the Norwegian Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers can be found here: regjeringen.no/norden2017 (in Norwegian only)