Prime Minister meeting with Nordic Prime Ministers in Helsinki, and attending the 64th session of the Nordic Council.
The Nordic Prime Ministers held their meeting today in Helsinki, Finland, and met with the self-governing regions of the Nordic counties. The Nordic Prime Ministers discussed co-operation in the Arctic issues, obstacles related to free movement of nordic persons between the Nordic countries, and follow up of projects and policy relating to green growth and sustainability, that the Nordic Council of Ministers has had on its agenda. The Nordic Prime Ministers also discussed co-operation in security and defence in the Nordic countries, with reference to the report of Thorvald Stoltenberg from 2009. Sweden and Finland have expressed interest in participating in air surveillance in Iceland, when Norway is the lead nation from NATO allies early 2014. Iceland has welcomed the Swedish and Finnish participation, should the countries be willing to participate. The Swedish and Finnish administartion and parliament have had this issue on their agenda and in consultations for some time, and are positive towards participation. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs will discuss the matter further in their meeting on Wednesday.
In the afternoon, the Prime Ministers attended the opening session of the 64th Nordic Council, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The Prime Ministers participated in the leaders programme, where they gave speeches on „The role of the Welfare State“ and sat in a discussion with parliamentarians. The Prime Minister emphasised the reaction of the welfare society when economic situation becomes difficult, reminding of the necessity to protect as much as possible the basic services, such as healthcare, education and law enforcement. With this, the interest of the public is best served and class division and inequality is avoided.
Finally, Sweden introduced the chairmanship programme for the next year. Sweden leads the co-operation in the Nordic Council of Ministers from 1 January 2013. Sweden will emphasize young people and employment, sustainability and environmental issues, during their chairmanship.