Dagfinn Høybråten took over as Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers on 4 March 2013. He replaces Halldór Ásgrímsson who steps down after six years. Høybråten takes on his new role with the ambition of developing and strengthening Nordic co-operation: There is potential for much great co-operation in the Nordic Region than we exploit today. As Secretary General I look forward to contributing to realising this potential. After having been a self-proclaimed Nordic advocate all his life, the former Norwegian MP, Dagfinn Høybråten, is finally in place at the heart of Nordic co-operation.
"Nordic co-operation concerns most people in their everyday lives. The vision of the Helsinki Treaty for equal treatment for Nordic citizens is still very relevant. The Council of Ministers has initiated a discussion on the visions for co-operation. Moreover, as part of my assignment as Secretary General, the Council has required that I help to streamline, target and develop Nordic Co-operation. This is an expression of political will, which I want to help to achieve, aided by the Secretariat", said Høybråten, who has been committed to the Nordic dimension throughout his career both as a politician and as a civil servant. Dagfinn Høybråten has been politician for more than 30 years, and was a member of the Council of Ministers for seven years as Minister of Health, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs for the Christian Democratic Party. After that he was President of the Nordic Council 2007-2008. In addition, he has extensive experience as a civil servant, and, amongst other things, was head of the National Insurance Administration, 1997-2004.
"The role of Secretary General lies at the crux of administration and politics, so I believe that my experience from both areas will be an advantage. I know how the political processes work and I know how to get things done. However, it is the politicians who are responsible for the execution. Respect for politicians and for politics is important to me in the role as a civil servant", concludes Dagfinn Høybråten, new Secretary General in the Nordic Council of Ministers.