Nordic Cooperation – Event Details
Members Restaurant Scottish Parliament 5th November 6-8.30pm
Hosted by Helen Eadie MSP
Chaired by journalist and NH Director Lesley Riddoch
Speakers: Johan Strang of the Helsinki-based Centre for Nordic Studies and author of the Nordic Communities report describing a “third Nordic Golden Age” and Mary Hilson author of The Nordic Model from UCL London.
The Nordic Council was set up in 1952 – a few short years after Iceland declared independence from Denmark, and Finland backed the ill-fated German invasion of Russia whilst two Nordic neighbours endured Nazi occupation. No-one would have blamed the Nordic nations for being huffy with one another. But they weren’t. The five Nordic defence ministers already co-operate on Schengen, joint procurement and military exercises, joint embassies and a joint cyber-defence network. Now the Nordic Council of Ministers has marked the organisation’s 60th anniversary with a report calling for a huge increase in cross-border co-operation – including a joint Nordic welfare index, joint Nordic climate targets and an international freedom of movement index.
It says: “All of the conditions for a third Nordic golden age are now in place. The world is becoming less Euro-centric. The Nordic region is becoming less peripheral. The Arctic is in the global spotlight thanks to the lure of natural resources and new shipping routes opened up by climate change. The Nordic model is attracting considerable international interest as a way of creating the conditions for a flexible and competitive economy with adequate welfare provision. The Nordic countries consistently top the international rankings for education and training, gender equality, innovation and competitiveness. Throughout history, neighbouring states and other major powers have sought to split the region. Now, nobody has anything to gain from stymying the Nordic region. Even Nato and the EU no longer constitute obstacles. The peoples of the five Nordic nations share culture, values and a sense of affinity. This unique sense of community should not be taken for granted.”
This is the report on Nordic Cooperation by the Centre for Nordic Studies mentioned in Lesley Riddoch’s Scotsman column (3.6.13) which was commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nordic Council in 2012. It’s no run-of-the-mill commemorative publication, ditches the retrospective approach, and looks to a future of increased Nordic co-operation as a template for regional cooperation between independent like-minded states across the world.
As promised, this meeting was recorded in three sections.
In the first section, there are welcomes (5 minutes approx. ) from Jayne Baxter MSP, Humza Yousaf MSP, and Lesley Riddoch. There follows a short presentation (20 minutes approx. ) from Mary Hilson, UCL lecturer and author of ‘Nordic Model’, who outlines the historical background and context for ‘Nordic Cooperation’. Johan Strang, from the Centre for Nordic Studies University of Helsinki and author of the ‘Nordic Communities’ report , presented a wide ranging examination of ‘Nordic Cooperation’ ( 20 minutes approx. )
The second section is a recording of the ‘Question and Answer’ session where the audience gets an opportunity to pose questions, make assertions and generally discuss ‘Nordic Cooperation’. This section lasts for approximately 70 minutes.
And finally, it is important never to mention birthdays to the cheerful Nordic Horizons crowd, as our host Jayne Baxter MSP found out. The reason? They will sing ‘Happy Birthday ‘to you.