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Nordic ministers to co-operate more closely on energy at European level

The Nordic energy ministers have pledged to work more closely together at both Nordic and European level. In line with the main message in an energy report by Jorma Ollila, they would like the Nordic Region to remain a trailblazer in the green economy and growth. They will also make Nordic energy research a top priority.

Kimmo Tiilikainen, Dagfinn Høybråten, Camilla Gunell, Anders Hoffmann, Terje Søviknes, Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir and Ibrahim Baylan at the meeting in Oslo, Norway (photo courtesy Matts Lindqvist).

The Nordic energy ministers have adopted a new programme for Nordic co-operation on energy policy 2018–2021 at their meeting in Oslo on 23 November. The programme includes a vision of a Nordic energy system based on close, trusting and flexible co-operation, which will lay the foundation for the world’s most integrated, intelligent, green low-emission economy and make it highly competitive.

At the meeting, the ministers considered the strategic review of the future of energy co-operation commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers and written by former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila. Ollila’s report, “Nordic Energy Co-operation: Strong today – stronger tomorrow” forms the basis for their vision for Nordic energy and parts of the new programme.

Co-operation in the EU and EEA

Based on proposals in the report, the ministers decided to work even more closely together on energy issues concerning the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). They reiterated that the countries already work well together, but that the EU plan for an energy union provides even greater opportunities for collaboration.

We will work even more closely together on energy for the benefit of the people and businesses of the Nordic Region. Speaking with one voice adds weight to the Nordic message, especially in an era when energy policy is becoming more and more European and global. The Nordic countries are stronger when they share points of view on individual issues, said Terje Søviknes, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy and chair of the Nordic ministerial co-operation on energy 2017.

The ministers observed that the international market for green energy is rapidly becoming increasingly competitive and that the Nordic countries need to carefully consider the areas in which it would be most beneficial to work together on the challenges faced.

Research a top priority

One of the areas the ministers identified at their meeting as ripe for a closer working relationship is research. They decided to make it a top priority. They would like to see the Nordic Council of Ministers’ institution Nordic Energy Research play an even greater role in collating and coordinating research results.

The ministers also decided to hold an annual forum on issues related to the electricity market and energy policy. The idea is to improve working relations in the Region and share information more fully by bringing together the main stakeholders and politicians to discuss topical issues and Nordic energy policy. The first forum will be held in spring 2018.

Swedish chair in 2018

Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish Minister for Policy Coordination and Energy, presented the main priorities for the Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018. The focus will be on the further enhancement of the already close Nordic co-operation on energy on the basis of the priorities outlined in the new programme.

Developing the Nordic electricity market, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy research and greater dialogue about EU processes will continue to be priorities.

International energy meeting in Øresund in 2018

Baylan also told the meeting that the two global conferences for energy ministers – Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial – in Malmö and Copenhagen next year will be high points of the Swedish Presidency.

It is highly gratifying that these important international conferences will be held in the Nordic Region. We look forward to this dialogue with energy ministers from around the world on our home turf next year, as we seek to share responsibility for finding solutions to the sustainable energy needs of the future. The conferences will also serve as fantastic opportunities to market Nordic expertise in energy technology, Minister Baylan added.

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