How are you doing in the Nordic countries?

Kick off in Turku/Åbo for the Finnish Presidency and a great drive for Nordic cross-sector cooperation. How can work, welfare and culture be combined?

How do you communicate only with your hands? Jennifer Joffs from Dansfadder company got the conference hall on their feet

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The Swedish agreement model’s big test (Feb 08, 2016) In 2016 the Swedish wage setting model is being put to its biggest test for several decades. Agreements must be made for some three million employees, but the members of the Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) are split, and different demands from different unions and trades risk breaking a nearly 20 year old tradition where the industry has set the norm for wage increases.
Opening the labour market for vulnerable citizens (Feb 08, 2016) One hour’s work a week is better than nothing. That is the thinking behind the major drive in recent years to get vulnerable Danes into the labour market. New research shows businesses are ready to create small jobs for vulnerable groups.
Labour dispute at Icelandic smelter – a threat to the country’s agreement model? (Feb 08, 2016) A bitter labour dispute between trade unions and employers at Rio Tinto Alcan’s Icelandic smelter Isal is in its second year. Workers have twice threatened to go on strike, but have pulled back at the last minute because of fears the smelter would be shut down. Six trade unions are negotiating, but most of the 500 employees at the smelter in Straumsvík belong to the Hlíf union.
Nordic countries fight unwanted consequences of EU benefit rules (Feb 08, 2016) The EU’s rules on social security benefits need modernisation and the cost must be shared more equally between member states. If not, liberal benefit systems like those found in Nordic countries might not be sustainable, argue Nordic governments as they join forces to push the issue in the EU.
Anniken Hauglie is Norway’s new Minister of Labour and Social Affairs (Dec 17, 2015) Prime Minister Erna Solberg changed party colours at one of the most important ministries when Norway got a new Minister of Labour and Social Affairs - Anniken Hauglie from the Conservative Party.
Finland: Social Impact Bonds to help refugees (Dec 07, 2015) Finland launches a social innovation programme allowing private investors to finance measures to improve the integration of refugees. They will be able to profit from solutions which helps solve problems for the public sector.
Europe wants to turn waste into gold (Nov 27, 2015) Leading Danish politicians and businesses believe the circular economy is about to become a mega trend in Europe. Now they get backing from a new study which lists the enormous economic benefits which following a better use of resources. A new EU plan is in the works.
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Recent articles
Editorial: More cooperation, less division (Feb 08, 2016) Comments How are you doing in the Nordic countries? asks Finland at the kick-off for the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Finland wants to promote exciting meetings and new thinking. The future is all about finding new ways of cooperating across disciplines and across borders. The Nordic region seeks new perspectives on new challenges. Why?
Finland’s Anne Berner: We must not loose the right to Nordic freedom of movement (Feb 08, 2016) Portrait It has been eight months since business woman Anne Berner became a minister in Finland’s new centre right Sipilä government. She plans to stay in politics for one term, which means she has no more than three years and four months to implement her plans. And she has her plans laid out.
Tighten up! (Nov 27, 2015) Comments The limit has been reached. Controls are being increased and things are being tightened up. Even Sweden has thrown in the towel. Swedish asylum rules will be adapted to fit with the EU’s minimum level. What now? Will the Nordic welfare societies stand the test?
Marginalised youths on the labour ministers’ agenda (Nov 27, 2015) Insight “No youths should be left to their own devices for longer periods of time,” Danish Noemi Katznelson told Nordic labour ministers when she presented her latest research in Copenhagen recently. Marginalised youths and work were the themes for discussion between the ministers and the social partners, with a focus on preventative measures against unemployment.
New President of LO-Denmark defends the Nordic model (Nov 27, 2015) Portrait The new first lady of the Danish trade union movement, Lizette Risgaard, is a staunch defender of Nordic cooperation and has already proven that she will fight to the bitter end in defence of the Nordic collective bargaining model.
Nordregio: Young Icelanders shy away from traditional occupations (Nov 27, 2015) News Icelandic youths are not interested in a future career in agriculture or fisheries. The only animals they will consider looking after in the future are pets. They would rather become coaches or work in the fitness sector, according to a fresh study from Nordregio which has mapped the future perspectives of young people in the Arctic.
Editorial: Refugees leaving their mark (Oct 23, 2015) Comments “I don’t believe anyone in any government office fails to think about refugees,” says the new Director for the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) Sigrun Vågeng in the Portrait. The numbers arriving to the Nordics have broken all predictions and colour societies and their public debate.
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Nordic countries fight unwanted consequences of EU benefit rules 

The EU’s rules on social security benefits need modernisation and the cost must be shared more equally between member states. If not, liberal benefit systems like those found in Nordic countries might not be sustainable, argue Nordic governments as they join forces to push the issue in the EU.

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Anne Berner front page Anne Berner – minister keen on changes

It has been eight months since business woman Anne Berner became a minister in Finland’s new centre right Sipilä government. She plans to stay in politics for one term, which means she has no more than three years and four months to implement her plans. And she has her plans laid out.

The Finnish Minister of Transport, and also Minister for Nordic Cooperation, is this month's portrait.

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Editorial

"The Nordic labour market model is based on trust, driven by a democratic negotiation process between the social partners and authorities. This finely tuned system is at risk if we allow the emergence of a shadow economy and dodgy working conditions, a B and C team and rising income inequalities."

 

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Unemployment

Per cent of workforce -
link to source:

Denmark 6.0 - December

Finland 9.2 - December

Norway 4.6 - November

Iceland 1.9 - December

Sweden 7.1 - December

OECD 6.6 - November

Eurostat

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Some earlier themes:
The sharing economy threatens Nordic trade unions The sharing economy threatens Nordic trade unions
The minimum wage — fit for the Nordic region? The minimum wage — fit for the Nordic region?