The nature of Nordic cooperation
To safeguard the nations' common interests
The Nordic nations are united by their history and culture, reflecting their shared roots. The common Nordic heritage makes an important contribution in Nordic cooperation.
Nordic cooperation is grounded both in shared values, such as the tradition of free and frank debate and tolerance, and in the nations' shared interests. The Nordic nations' shared values lead to a solidarity among them which is almost unparalleled in Europe, or in the wider world.
A large number of people participate in Nordic cooperation, either as individuals or within organisations. This is an important strength. Along with this widespread participation, all forms of cooperation between the Nordic nations enjoy great public support.
Strengthening the Nordic nations
There are many bonds among the Nordic countries and their people. Nordic cooperation serves to strengthen these bonds, for instance through cultural, educational and research projects, environmental issues, the Nordic welfare system, and measures to promote freedom of movement within the region.
Cooperation between the Nordic countries and the Baltic nations - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -
and Russia is an important means of enhancing interest in all the countries and their ability to attract foreign investment. The nations' resources, encompassing the diverse experience of the countries in the region, will serve them well on the global market.
Nordic Council of Ministers
The governments of the Nordic countries and the autonomous territories work together both formally and informally. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the formal forum of cooperation.
The work of the Council of Ministers
Cooperation between the Nordic governments is of many kinds. The purpose of the Nordic Council of Ministers is to promote cooperation, whatever its nature. The most effective means are always sought; the external form is less important. The work of the Council of Ministers takes account of well-established priority areas, and seeks to make efficient use of funding. The work of the Council of Ministers is intended to benefit all the Nordic peoples.
More interaction with neighbouring nations is beneficial for the Nordic countries. This is clearly seen in Nordic participation in cooperation in the North Atlantic and the Arctic region, with the three Baltic nations and with northwest Russia. Within the forum of European cooperation, groups of nations can work together. Nordic and Nordic-Baltic cooperation strengthen the position of these countries within the EU. This applies to a shared position on certain issues, and other initiatives such as research and innovation policies. The Northern Dimension is the foundation of collaboration between the EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland, and provides a basis for further development. The objective is to achieve enhanced prosperity in the part of Europe where we live, both through more collaboration in the political field and through specific measures. By these means security can be enhanced, and sustainable development ensured.
Other international bodies
Emphasis must be placed upon cooperation between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Baltic Assembly, the Barents Council and the Arctic Council, in which some of the same governments are participants.