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Nordics agree to protect culture as well as the climate

Nordics agree to protect culture as well as the climate

| Text: Marie Preisler, photo: Johannes Jansson/

Climate and sustainability get more from the 2022 Nordic cooperation budget, while culture and education avoid planned cuts.

Green change in the Nordics will get a larger share of the funds that the Nordic countries allocate to Nordic cooperation. In the long run, this could mean less money for Nordic culture and education, but for now, there is money for both. 

On 2 November, Nordic cooperation ministers approved the 2022 budget for Nordic cooperation, during the Nordic Council session in Copenhagen. It includes a considerable increase in the amounts set aside for realising the Nordic prime ministers’ vision of making the Nordics the world’s most sustainable region by 2030. 

In order to finance the gradual increase of pan-Nordic climate measures, the Nordic Council of Ministers had prepared to cut budgets for Nordic culture and education cooperation. But after long-running negotiations between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council, the cuts were put on ice. 

The pandemic led to a sharp drop in travel for Nordic cooperation work, as meetings were primarily held online. This has led to considerable cost savings for travel and accommodation, which compensates for the abandoned cuts to culture and education support in the 2022 budget. 

Good cooperation

This solution was welcomed by everyone during the Nordic Council session in Copenhagen. After chairing the cooperation ministers’ budget meeting, the Finnish Minister of Nordic Cooperation  Thomas Blomqvist said he was happy that money had been found to strengthen both the climate work and a range of specific culture and education measures in 2022. 

“The pandemic highlighted how important Nordic art, culture and togetherness is to Nordic citizens. So I am very happy that we have been able to spend unused funds from previous years in order to secure a special one-year investment in culture and education,” Blomqvist said.  

Thomas Blomqvist

Thomas Blomqvist, Finland's cooperation minister. 

He thanked the Nordic cooperation ministers on behalf of the Nordic Council for actively and constructively having engaged in budget negotiations, and said he and the coming Nordic Council of Ministers Presidency would work for early and close dialogue with the Nordic Council Presidency on future years’ budget plans. 

“We have agreed on a budget where both the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers have a strong desire to cooperate and improve our dialogue,” said Thomas Blomqvist.

New negotiations

Bertel Haarder, the Nordic Council President, said the 2023 budget dialogue will start shortly. Although the culture support is not being cut in 2022, a solution must be found for the coming years. He also said negotiations would start soon between the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers on making transport a special policy area of Nordic cooperation, by establishing a special Nordic council of ministers for transport.

“A council of ministers for transport is an obvious idea which the Nordic Council is fully behind,” said Bertel Haarder.

The budget strengthens the financing of several support programmes for culture and Nordic cultural institutions, the language cooperation, Norden i Skolen and Nordjobb as well as the Nordic Literature Week.

The next budget debate starts in December when representatives for the current and future Presidencies of the Nordic Council of Ministers will meet the current and future Presidencies of the Nordic Council for a first run-through.  

The Nordic ministers for culture presented a joint declaration at a meeting during the Nordic Council session in Copenhagen, stating that art and culture help tackle global challenges like climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministers highlighted inclusive art and cultural life, digitalisation and education, indigenous people’s important knowledge and freedom of expression as important elements for sustainable development in the Nordic region.  

The Queen: a great effort

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe held a reception in honour of the Nordic Council session, and in a speech, she mentioned culture as part of the effort to make the Nordics the most sustainable region by 2030.

“This is a very ambitious aim and it will mean much effort on behalf of all of the member countries’ across a range of areas, including children and youths, education, working life – and not least when it comes to the environment, climate and sustainability. Popular support for the Nordic cooperation is alive and strong, and Nordic parliamentarians face high expectations. Whether we will reach the aim only time will tell, but it is crucial to remember that we can achieve more together than alone.”

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The cooperation ministers

from the Nordic countries meeting during the 2021 Norden Council Session in Copenhagen. 


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