Finland puts green agenda at the top of Nordic Council priorities list
The Finns take over the presidency of the organisation during 2021 – which is it’s 50th anniversary.By News Now Staff -November 11, 20200
Finland wants to focus on the climate crisis, sustainability, and more cooperation over security of supplies in times of crisis during its presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021, as the region tries to recover from the impact of coronavirus which has put a strain on relations this year.
The Nordic Council, formed in 1952, comprises the five Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark plus the autonomous regions of Åland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Council is made up of members of parliaments who focus on inter-parliamentary cooperation, and the Council of Ministers which handles government-to-government relations.
“The Nordic countries are close to each other culturally, with lively everyday interactions between our citizens. We are also interdependent economically” said Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in a recent video message.
Despite each of the Nordic Council countries being, variously, members of the European Union, EFTA, EEA, Schengen or NATO, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation Thomas Blomqvist (SFP) says he thinks the organisation still has an important role to play giving a distinct voice for the region and taking action on issues which are important to northern nations.
“The Nordic countries have a lot in common. We have a lot of shared history, we have cultural similarities and as societies we are much alike. I think we have so many common interests, we should continue to have this Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.”
The focus of Finland’s 2021 agenda on the environment and climate change is an easy subject for all the countries to agree on, and gives them the chance for coordinated action.
“We had a new vision last year when the prime ministers of the Nordic countries outlined three main goals. A green Nordic region, a competitive Nordic region and a socially sustainable Nordic region. And climate change is one of the main tasks” Blomqvist tells News Now Finland.
“During our presidency we will of course try to act in a way that we can fulfill the vision but we also have some specific presidency projects that we will push forward” he adds.
Some of those ideas include shared action on lowering emissions, where economic growth and green transition are not mutually exclusive goals. The Finns also want to tackle issues around declining biodiversity in the sea and on land; promote circular economy particularly in the construction industry; and to coordinate ‘climate diplomacy’ to push for concerted action on international climate goals.
“The Nordic countries are all trying to minimise the use of carbon-based fuel products and there we are all having the same goal, we want to promote bio-based and circular economy and that’s why we have a vision that we could all agree on” says Blomqvist.