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 2020, the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers is held by Denmark. Working Together on Solutions for the Future is the title for the joint Danish, Greenlandic and Faroese Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2020
In August, the Nordic Prime ministers adopted a new Vision 2030 for the Nordic Council of Ministers. The aim of the new vision is to ensure that the Nordic region will become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. The presidency programme seeks to consolidate social cohesion and co-operation and to make the most of the region’s potential. It underpins the three strategic priorities outlined by the Council of Ministers’ vision – a green, competitive and socially sustainable Nordic region – all of which also contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The green Nordic region
The Nordic region is recognised worldwide as a guarantor of ambitious and effective sustainability initiatives and climate solutions. The new Presidency will continue and refine co-operation on the environment, nature and climate in order to make the region even greener, to promote biodiversity and reduce plastic and waste in the world's oceans.
The competitive Nordic region
The Presidency will continue to enhance the position of the Nordic region as the most wide-ranging form of regional co-operation with cross-border freedom of movement in the world. Research, innovation, investments and digitalisation will make companies as competitive as possible during the green transition and promote circular, climate-friendly solutions that will benefit the Nordic region and the rest of the world.
The socially sustainable Nordic region
Nordic cohesion is based on shared values such as trust, democracy and gender equality. However, this cohesion is threatened by encroaching globalisation. The programme for the Presidency sees education and culture as positive platforms for efforts to preserve and enhance social cohesion and knowledge of the Nordic languages. Sustainable communities of young people will be invaluable in this context. Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody in the region.
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. The Baltic and Nordic countries are linked by common cultural, historical, political and economic ties. Regular political dialogue and practical cooperation have been established between the Baltic and Nordic countries, with a potential for further development.