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The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary co-operation between the Nordic countries. Formed in 1952, it has 87 members from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway
Norway
and Sweden
Sweden
as well as from the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands, Greenland
Greenland
and the Åland
Åland
Islands. The representatives are members of parliament in their respective country/area and are elected by those parliaments. The Council holds ordinary sessions each year in October/November and usually one extra session per year with a specific theme. [1] In 1971, the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers, an intergovernmental forum, was established to complement the Council. The official and working language of both the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers is Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish), which is the first language of around 80% of the region's population and learned as a foreign language by the remaining 20%.[2] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers are involved in various forms of cooperation with neighbouring areas, amongst them being the Baltic Assembly
Baltic Assembly
and the Benelux[3], as well as Russia[4] and Schleswig-Holstein.[5]

Contents

1 History 2 Work

2.1 Language understanding

3 Structure

3.1 Council 3.2 Council of Ministers 3.3 Secretary General

4 Location 5 Members 6 Adjacent Areas and other neighbourhood policies 7 Nordic unification 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

History[edit] During World War II, Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
were occupied by Germany; Finland
Finland
fought a costly war with the Soviet Union; while Sweden, though neutral, still felt the war's effects. Following the war, the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
pursued the idea of a Scandinavian defence union
Scandinavian defence union
to ensure their mutual defence. However, Finland, due to its Paasikivi-Kekkonen policy of neutrality and FCMA treaty
FCMA treaty
with the USSR, could not participate. It was proposed that the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
would unify their foreign policy and defence, remain neutral in the event of a conflict and not ally with NATO, which some were planning at the time. The United States, keen on getting access to bases in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
and believing the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
incapable of defending themselves, stated it would not ensure military support for Scandinavia
Scandinavia
if they did not join NATO. As Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
sought US aid for their post-war reconstruction, the project collapsed, with Denmark, Norway
Norway
and Iceland
Iceland
joining NATO.[6] Further Nordic co-operation, such as an economic customs union, also failed. This led Danish Prime Minister
Danish Prime Minister
Hans Hedtoft
Hans Hedtoft
to propose, in 1951, a consultative inter-parliamentary body. This proposal was agreed by Denmark, Iceland, Norway
Norway
and Sweden
Sweden
in 1952.[7] The Council's first session was held in the Danish Parliament
Parliament
on 13 February 1953 and it elected Hans Hedtoft
Hans Hedtoft
as its president. When Finnish-Soviet relations thawed following the death of Joseph Stalin, Finland
Finland
joined the council in 1955.[8] On 2 July 1954, the Nordic labour market was created and in 1958, building upon a 1952 passport-free travel area, the Nordic Passport Union was created. These two measures helped ensure Nordic citizens' free movement around Scandinavia. A Nordic Convention on Social Security was implemented in 1955. There were also plans for a single market but they were abandoned in 1959 shortly before Denmark, Norway and Sweden
Sweden
joined the European Free Trade Area
European Free Trade Area
(EFTA). Finland
Finland
became an associated member of EFTA in 1961 and Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
applied to join the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
(EEC).[8] This move towards the EEC led to desire for a formal Nordic treaty; the Helsinki Treaty outlined the workings of the Council and came into force on 24 March 1962. Further advancements on Nordic cooperation were made in the following years: a Nordic School of Public Health, a Nordic Cultural Fund and Nordic House in Reykjavík. Danish Prime Minister Hilmar Baunsgaard proposed full economic cooperation ("Nordek") in 1968. Nordek was agreed in 1970, but Finland
Finland
then backtracked, stating that its ties with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
meant it could not form close economic ties with potential members of the EEC ( Denmark
Denmark
and Norway).[8] Nordek was then abandoned. As a consequence, Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
applied to join the EEC and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers was set up in 1971 to ensure continued Nordic cooperation.[9] In 1970 representatives of the Faroe Islands and Åland
Åland
were allowed to take part in the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
as part of the Danish and Finnish delegations.[8] Norway
Norway
turned down EEC membership in 1972 while Denmark
Denmark
acted as a bridge builder between the EEC and the Nordics.[10] Also in 1973, although Finland
Finland
did not opt for full membership of the EEC, Finland
Finland
negotiated a free trade treaty with the EEC that in practice removed customs duties from 1977 on, although there were transition periods up to 1985 for some products. Sweden
Sweden
did not apply due to its non-alliance policy, which was aimed at preserving neutrality. Greenland
Greenland
subsequently left the EEC and has since sought a more active role in circumpolar affairs. In the 1970s, the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
founded the Nordic Industrial Fund, Nordtest and the Nordic Investment Bank. The Council's remit was also expanded to include environmental protection and, in order to clean up the pollution in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
and North Atlantic, a joint energy network was established. The Nordic Science Policy Council was set up in 1983[10] and, in 1984, representatives from Greenland
Greenland
were allowed to join the Danish delegation.[8] Following the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1991, the Nordic Council began to cooperate more with the Baltic states
Baltic states
and new Baltic Sea organisations. Sweden
Sweden
and Finland
Finland
joined the European Union
European Union
(EU), the EEC's successor, in 1995. Norway
Norway
had also applied, but once again voted against membership.[11] However, Norway
Norway
and Iceland
Iceland
did join the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
(EEA) which integrated them economically with the EU. The Nordic Passport Union
Nordic Passport Union
was also subsumed into the EU's Schengen Area
Schengen Area
in 1996. The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
became more outward-looking, to the Arctic, Baltic, Europe and Canada. The Øresund Bridge
Øresund Bridge
linking Sweden
Sweden
and Denmark
Denmark
led to a large amount of cross-border travel, which in turn led to further efforts to reduce barriers.[11] However, the initially envisioned tasks and functions of the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
have become partially dormant due to the significant overlap with the EU and EEA. In 2008 Iceland
Iceland
began EU membership talks,[12] but decided to annul these in 2015.[13] Work[edit] Language understanding[edit] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers have a particular focus on strengthening the Nordic language community; the main focus of the their work to promote language understanding in the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
is on children and young people’s understanding of written and oral Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, the three mutually intelligible Scandinavian languages.[14] Structure[edit] Council[edit] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
consists of 87 representatives, elected from its members' parliaments and reflecting the relative representation of the political parties in those parliaments. It holds its main session in the autumn, while a so-called "theme session" is arranged in the spring. Each of the national delegations has its own secretariat in the national parliament. The autonomous territories – Greenland, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
and Åland – also have Nordic secretariats.[15] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
uses the three Continental Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) as its official working languages, but also publishes material in Finnish, Icelandic and English for information purposes. The council refers to Danish, Norwegian and Swedish collectively as Scandinavian and considers them to be different forms of the same language forming a common language community.[16] Since 1987, under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable to any interpretation or translation costs. The Convention covers visits to hospitals, job centres, the police and social security offices. The languages included are Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic.[17] The Council does not have any formal power on its own, but each government has to implement any decisions through its national legislature. With Denmark, Norway
Norway
and Iceland
Iceland
being members of NATO and Finland
Finland
and Sweden
Sweden
being neutral, the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
has not been involved in any military cooperation. Council of Ministers[edit] The original Nordic Council
Nordic Council
concentrates on inter-parliamentary cooperation. The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers, founded in 1971, is responsible for inter-governmental cooperation. Prime Ministers have ultimate responsibility but this is usually delegated to the Minister for Nordic Cooperation and the Nordic Committee for Co-operation, which co-ordinates the day-to-day work. The autonomous territories have the same representation as states.[18] Secretary General[edit]

Secretary-General of the Nordic Council

Location[edit]

Nordic Council
Nordic Council
headquarters in Copenhagen. White building with Norden sign and flag at street Ved Stranden
Ved Stranden
No. 18

The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Council of Ministers have their headquarters in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
and various installations in each separate country, as well as many offices in neighbouring countries. The headquarters are located at Ved Stranden
Ved Stranden
No. 18, close to Slotsholmen. Members[edit] Members of the Council:

Country name Arms Flag Membership Parliament Membership status Represented since Members EFTA/EU relation NATO
NATO
relation

Denmark

full Folketing sovereign state 1952 16 EU member founding member

Finland

full Eduskunta (Riksdagen) sovereign state 1955 18 EU member partnership

Iceland

full Alþingi sovereign state 1952 7 EFTA member EU associate founding member

Norway

full Storting sovereign state 1952 20 EFTA founding member EU associate founding member

Sweden

full Riksdag sovereign state 1952 20 EU member partnership

Åland

associate Lagting self-governing region of Finland 1970 2 EU territory demilitarized zone

Faroe Islands

associate Løgting self-governing region of the Danish Realm 1970 2 minimal NATO
NATO
territory as part of Denmark

Greenland

associate Inatsisartut self-governing region of the Danish Realm 1984 2 OCT NATO
NATO
territory as part of Denmark

The Sámi political structures (Sami Parliament) have long desired formal representation in the Nordic Council's structures, and are increasingly de facto included in activities touching upon their interests. In addition, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
have expressed their wishes for full membership in the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
instead of the current associate membership.[19] The northernmost German state of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
participated as an informal guest observer in a session for the first time in 2016. The state has historical ties to Denmark
Denmark
and cross-border cooperation with Denmark
Denmark
and has a Danish minority population.[20] As parliamentary representatives from Schleswig-Holstein, a member of the South Schleswig Voter Federation and a member of the Social Democrats with ties to the Danish minority were elected.[21] Adjacent Areas and other neighbourhood policies[edit]

The Nordic countries
Nordic countries
(blue) and the Adjacent Areas (green)

The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers has established four Offices outside the Nordic Region, namely in all the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—and the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.[22] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Council of Ministers define Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Lithuania
and Russia
Russia
as "Adjacent Areas" and has formal cooperation with them under the Adjacent Areas policies framework; in recent years the cooperation has focused increasingly on Russia.[23] The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
had historically been a strong supporter of Baltic independence from the Soviet Union. During the move towards independence in the Baltic States in 1991, Denmark
Denmark
and Iceland
Iceland
pressed for the Observer Status in the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
for the then-nonsovereign Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania. The move in 1991 was opposed by Norway
Norway
and Finland. The move was heavily opposed by the Soviet Union, accusing the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of getting involved in its internal affairs.[24][25] In the same year, the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
refused to give observer status for the three, at the time nonsovereign, Baltic states.[26] Recently[when?], three of the members of the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
(Sweden, Denmark
Denmark
and Finland, all EU-member states), the Baltic Assembly
Baltic Assembly
and the Benelux
Benelux
sought intensifying cooperation in the Digital Single Market, as well as discussing social matters, the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, the European migrant crisis
European migrant crisis
and defense cooperation. Relations with Russia, Turkey and the United Kingdom was also on the agenda.[27] Nordic unification[edit] Further information: Scandinavism Some desire the Nordic Council's promotion of Nordic cooperation to go much further than at present. If the states of Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark
Denmark
and Finland
Finland
were to merge in such an integration as some desire, it would command a gross domestic product of US$1.60 trillion, making it the twelfth largest economy in the world, larger than that of Australia, Spain, Mexico or South Korea. Gunnar Wetterberg, a Swedish historian and economist, wrote a book entered into the Nordic Council's year book that proposes the creation of a Nordic Federation from the Council in a few decades.[28] See also[edit]

Denmark
Denmark
portal Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
portal Greenland
Greenland
portal Finland
Finland
portal Iceland
Iceland
portal Norway
Norway
portal Sweden
Sweden
portal Arctic
Arctic
portal Europe portal

Arctic
Arctic
Cooperation and Politics Baltic region Baltoscandia Baltic Assembly Benelux Council of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
States European Union NB8 Nordic Council
Nordic Council
Film Prize Nordic Council
Nordic Council
Music Prize Nordic Council's Literature Prize Nordic Identity in Estonia Nordic Passport Union Nordic Summer University Nordic countries West Nordic Council

References[edit]

^ [1] ^ Language ^ https://news.err.ee/603573/ratas-meets-with-benelux-nordic-baltic-leaders-in-the-hague ^ Tobias Etzold, "Nordic Institutionalized Cooperation in a Larger Regional Setting," in Johan Strang (ed.), Nordic Cooperation: A European Region in Transition, p. 148ff, Routledge, 2015, ISBN 9781317626954 ^ Offices outside the Nordic Region. Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers. ^ The plan for a Scandinavian Defence Union, European Navigator. Étienne Deschamps. Translated by the CVCE. ^ Before 1952, Nordic Council ^ a b c d e 1953–1971 Finland
Finland
joins in and the first Nordic rights are formulated., Nordic Council ^ The period up to 1971 Archived 20 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers ^ a b 1972–1989 Archived 20 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers ^ a b After 1989 Archived 20 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers ^ "Further Icelandic support for EU membership IceNews – Daily News". Icenews.is. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2009.  ^ " Iceland
Iceland
drops EU membership bid: 'interests better served outside' union". The Guardian. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2016.  ^ Language co-operation, Nordic Council ^ About the Nordic Council ^ "Norden". Norden. Norden.org. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.  ^ [2] Archived 28 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. ^ The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers ^ http://www.norden.org/en/news-and-events/news/the-faroe-islands-apply-for-membership-in-the-nordic-council-and-nordic-council-of-ministers-1 ^ Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
for the first time uses its observer status in the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
Archived 17 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (in German), Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein, 1 November 2016 ^ Election of observational members to the Nordic Council, Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein, 3 November 2016 ^ Offices outside the Nordic Region. Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers. ^ Tobias Etzold, "Nordic Institutionalized Cooperation in a Larger Regional Setting," in Johan Strang (ed.), Nordic Cooperation: A European Region in Transition, p. 148ff, Routledge, 2015, ISBN 9781317626954 ^ [3] ^ [4] ^ [5] ^ https://news.err.ee/603573/ratas-meets-with-benelux-nordic-baltic-leaders-in-the-hague ^ Wetterberg, Gunnar (3 November 2010) Comment The United Nordic Federation, EU Observer

External links[edit]

Official website

Nordic Council
Nordic Council
sub-site Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers sub-site Office in Saint Petersburg Office in Kaliningrad

v t e

Nordic Council

Members

 Denmark  Finland  Iceland  Norway  Sweden

Associates

  Åland
Åland
Islands  Faroe Islands  Greenland

Observers

  Estonia
Estonia
(accession)  Latvia  Lithuania

v t e

Nordic countries

Countries

 Denmark  Finland  Iceland  Norway  Sweden

Dependencies

  Åland
Åland
Islands  Faroe Islands  Greenland

Climate of the Nordic countries Comparison of the Nordic countries Nordic Council Nordic Cross flag Subdivisions of the Nord

.