The Nordic countries combined constitute the 5th largest economy in the EU and the 12th largest in the world based on GDP. All prefer to co-operate very closely and every one of those countries is more open to doing business than the OECD average; Denmark is the most open economy of the Nordics.
There was a seminar on sustainable development organized by diplomatic missions of Nordic countries in Budapest. Dteurope.com asked Tom Nørring on the background of the event.
How did the idea to organize this seminar originate?
There is a longstanding and friendly co-operation between the Nordic countries in many parts of life, including environmental protection, technology, sport, culture, business, etc. Our politicians and public authorities meet regularly, and many citizens have summer houses outside their homeland in our region. We are proud of our labor market, corporate practice and achievements in environmental protection and could have concentrated on only one of them while preparing this event,but we thought the broader spectrum was more interesting. This is the reason we invited different speakers from political, civil and corporate sites. As I said in my opening remarks: the whole idea was not to provide a solution for everyone but to provide some fruit for thought.
What kind of joint actions do you prefer in the future?
This was not the first occasion we (the Nordic countries) acted jointly in Hungary. Proposed by Norway, a good workshop on gender equality was held here earlier. We have established a good co-operation on political and cultural scene and continue to take part in different political and cultural actions. Let me remind you that we had a fantastic film week in April presenting 30 movies from our region. We had a joint stand on the Budapest Book Festival where the popular Scandinavian crime novels were in the forefront and we continue to support the so called friendship groups of parliamentarians who exchange visits regularly.
The Nordic countries have said that they see relations with the Baltic states and member states of the V4 Group as a unique opportunity within the EU. What areas of co-operation are a must in this respect?
The primary issues are: energy security, defense, environmental protection, human rights, immigration, health, business developments and R+D. But please, start with the simpliest: coordination. This should be the first step, you have to coordinate your actions and sometimes you do, but not on a regular basis. The Nordic, Baltic and V4 countries together could form a special platform within the EU, helping to show the interests of smaller countries during the decision making process.
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