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Norway's new Super Minister: Bjarne Håkon Hanssen

(Mar 10, 2006) Work for all is one of the main aims of Norway's new left-of-centre government. "Super Minister" Bjarne Håkon Hanssen carries a great responsibility. He controls one in three of every krone in the budget. He has to make sure the government reaches its goal of a more inclusive working life. The hidden unemployment must be fought, and more people of employable age must be included in working life.

The Nordic Model of Labour Relations and the Vaxholm case

The Nordic Model of Labour Relations and the Vaxholm case

(Mar 01, 2006) Sweden was one of the few EU member states that did not introduce any transitional restrictions on the free movement of workers when EU enlarged with 10 new members in 2004.

Packing your bags is hard to do

(Mar 01, 2006) Two nights a week, over twenty foreigners like me gather in a classroom at an Oslo language school, determined to improve our faltering Norwegian.

Book in review: What future for the Nordic model?

(Sep 01, 2005) Slash taxes and cut benefits to put an end to poverty. This is the recipe that is often prescribed by neo-liberal thinkers to solve society’s woes. Doing the opposite, in their minds,would amount to kill the golden goose of economic development.

Tasting the community spirit

(Sep 01, 2005) A few weeks after moving to Norway, I did something I would never have done anywhere else. At 6pm on the dot, I left my flat to meet my neighbours in the courtyard. We planted flowers, cleaned the grounds, painted the door frames, did the odd repair, and generally made our apartment block a better place to live in.

Nordic Council of Ministers: Neighbours catching the same wind

Nordic Council of Ministers: Neighbours catching the same wind

(Jul 01, 2005) Because they are so similar, the Nordic countries can enjoy the advantage of exchanging experiences. The Nordic co-operation is being developed in areas where one can enjoy a synergy effect. When the Nordic Council of Ministers of Employment meet, one question on the table is this: Can the Nordic model, which has been so successful and so close to its citizens, be a source of inspiration for the rest of Europe – or will it be undermined by the EU?

Innovation: More than just a good idea

(Mar 01, 2005) European employment policy has, in recent years, turned more and more strongly towards innovation. For high cost countries, the continuous cost-cutting improvements of existing products, services and processes is no longer sufficient to maintain employment and income. On this, there is little disagreement. It is when we turn to the practical issue of how to promote innovation that the perspectives tend to move apart.

Øresund has something to teach Europe

(Mar 01, 2005) Peter Kay Mortensen thinks the rest of Europe could learn from the experiences of the Øresund region in Denmark and Sweden. He is chairman of the Greater Copenhagen Section of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, and one of the driving forces behind the Øresund co-operation.

Saved? – At least for now

(Mar 01, 2005) For the past few months General Motors (GM) has been on the rampage in Europe. The attacks were directed at the three German Opel plants in Rüsselsheim, Bochum and Kaiserslautern, plus Swedish Saab in Trollhättan. 12 000 jobs are going, the German wages are lowered, working hours are increased – and the only guarantee is that the plants won’t be closed before 2010.

Siv Fridleifsdottir and the Icelandic chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2004

Siv Fridleifsdottir and the Icelandic chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2004

(Mar 01, 2004) She is Icelandic, Norwegian, and a little bit Swedish. She grew up on the outskirts of the only big city in Iceland, in the county of Seltjarnarnes, surrounded by the Atlantic. Her main job is as Iceland’s Environment Minister, and this year she is also a Nordic co-operation minister. She is one of the leading women in Icelandic politics, active in a political party where the closest young women used to come to power was to be married to a politician.

Homo Nordicus in the eyes of a Diego

Homo Nordicus in the eyes of a Diego

(Mar 01, 2004) If you rotate Norway like a compass with Oslo in the centre, the North Cape would hit Rome, I am told. Still there is a full ocean, or maybe several, separating the Nordic and Latin cultures.

Book in review: Karaoke Capitalism

(Mar 01, 2004) We live in the time of individualism. Grab the microphone and express your unique personality. Welcome to Club Karaoke Capitalism, where talent, originality and/or money creates freedom of choice like never before. At least for some.

Nordic cooperation - a question of survival

Nordic cooperation - a question of survival

(Nov 01, 2003) There are those who ask whether Nordic cooperation still has a part to play in a Europe run by the EU. That does not apply to Per Unckel. The Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers is all enthusiasm. If all doubt regarding the Nordic cooperation has not been dispelled by the time he leaves, he shall consider himself a failure, so goes his postulate.

Book in review: Managing Workplace Health

(Nov 01, 2003) The EU takes the notion of the global network-society seriously and, it seems, finds a network to fit every good cause.

Nordic cooperation - two sides to the coin?

(Nov 01, 2003) “The Nordic countries are unique” “The Nordic countries are a model” “The Nordic countries may serve as an example”. The reputation of the Nordic countries is on the whole rather favourable.

The spirit of Iceland - Big cars and Big Spenders

The spirit of Iceland - Big cars and Big Spenders

(Oct 01, 2002) Iceland is a large country with a population of 286,000 people, 180,000 of whom live in the Reykjavik region. Roughly the same size as Ireland, it is very sparsely populated, with only 3 persons per square kilometre. The statistics are remarkable. Iceland stands out among the Nordic countries. It is the country with the highest employment rate (for women too), the lowest unemployment rate, the highest working age, the longest life expectancy, the highest birth rate and the lowest sick leave rates. Why is that? Where's the magic?

Long term trends in the Nordic discourse on work organization

(Oct 01, 2002) The long term trend in work organization has clearly been in the direction of more autonomy and responsibility associated in the work role. This has been combined with a greater emphasis on the ability of each and every member of the organization to communicate directly with other members of the organisation as well as with people outside the organisation (suppliers, customers).

The labyrinth of maternity leave benefits

(Oct 01, 2002) For the past two years in a row, the UN Development Programme has awarded Norway the best place to live in the world based on its quality of life index. With 10-12 months paid maternity leave, free prenatal care and delivery, and extra child care benefits once the baby is born, who could argue. I can see now why so many twentysomethings in Norway with no job, nor perhaps a steady partner, take the plunge into motherhood without so much as a blink. Heck, you can even become crown princess of Norway.

Book in review: Life and learning on the Net

(Oct 01, 2002) Distance learning via the Internet is an area fraught with high expectations.

The labyrinth of maternity leave benefits

The labyrinth of maternity leave benefits

(Oct 01, 2002) For the past two years in a row, the UN Development Programme has awarded Norway the best place to live in the world based on its quality of life index. With 10-12 months paid maternity leave, free prenatal care and delivery, and extra child care benefits once the baby is born, who could argue.

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