What does Finland’s chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers mean?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 10.12.2015 11.50
News item

Finland will chair the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official co-operation body of the Nordic Governments. Senior Officer Maria Waltari tells, in a video interview, what the chairmanship means for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and why Nordic co-operation is important.

Link to video interview:
https://youtu.be/2tWUG9FNFhs

Transcript of interview

Finland is chairing the Nordic Council of Ministers next year – what does it include?

"During its chairmanship, Finland  will be chairing all  Councils of Ministers as well as Committees of Senior Officials. The same applies to the Nordic working groups, too. The co-operation will be coordinated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, but the Minister of Social Affairs and Health will be responsible for healthcare and social welfare policy and matters of equality. Additionally, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health bears partial responsibility for matters related to food and for occupational safety and health."

Which issues in the sector of healthcare and social welfare will be prioritised during the chairmanship?

"The field of co-operation in the sector of healthcare and social welfare is very broad. About a year ago, a report was published on future Nordic co-operation in healthcare sector. This so called Könberg report contains 14 recommendations for Finland to implement during the chairmanship year. The recommendations deal with various matters, for example antimicrobial resistance, psychiatry, rare diseases, government officials exchange scheme etc."

In which sectors does the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health co-operate with other Nordic countries?

"Nordic co-operation has a long tradition. We co-operate, for example, in sectors of healthcare preparedness and e-health and in matters relating to children and young people."

Why is Nordic co-operation important?

"Nordic co-operation is vital because it is important to have good co-operation relations with neighbour countries.  The Nordic societies are rather alike and therefore it is useful to exchange experiences and best practices in all kinds of matters."

Interview: Anne-Sofie Pesola
Video: Kimmo Vainikainen