The Nordic region consists of the following countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It also includes three self-governing areas: The Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. There are eight time zones, approximately 25 million inhabitants and 9 official languages.
The Nordic Council was formed in 1952 and is the official inter-parliamentary body for cooperation in the Nordic Region. Each calendar year one Nordic country presides at the Nordic Council. In 2016 the Nordic Council is chaired by Denmark.
The Nordic Council of Ministers was formed in 1971 and is the official inter-governmental body for cooperation in the Nordic Region. The formal responsibility for the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers lies with the prime ministers of the Nordic countries, but in practice the Nordic Council of Ministers work in each Nordic country is coordinated by a Nordic Cooperation Minister and a Nordic Co-operation Committee.
The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers rotates between the five Nordic countries and is held for a period of one year.
In 2018, the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers is held by Sweden. An inclusive, sustainable, innovative, secure and open Nordic region is the starting point when Sweden takes over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018. Digitalisation is a recurrent theme throughout Sweden’s presidency programme. The Nordic countries have a strong democratic and civil society tradition characterised by equity, gender equality, sustainability and co-operation. The continuous exchange of knowledge and culture provides the basis for the Nordic prime ministers’ vision of the Nordic region as the world’s most integrated region. The Nordic countries have a strong international engagement and value European cohesion and an active UN. The Nordic prime ministers’ initiative – Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges – aims to spread positive Nordic experience to the rest of the world.
Cooperation between the Baltic countries and the Nordic Council of Ministers was launched in 1991, when the NCM opened its offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Ever since then, the offices have built a strong bridge of values and networks between the Nordics and Baltics. In the year 2016 the Offices celebrated 25 years anniversary.