Saturday

22nd Sep 2018

Focus

'Who rules the world? Riyadh vs. Bergen'

  • Stefan Loefven (Sweden), Lars Lokke Rasmussen (Denmark), Erna Solberg (Norway), Juha Sipila (Finland) and Bjarni Benediktsson (Iceland) (Photo: Nordic Council)

Last week, a photo of US president Donald Trump, Saudi king Salman, and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi holding a glowing orb went viral.

This week, the Nordic leaders met in Bergen, Norway, and agreed to promote an initiative called Nordic Solutions To Global Challenges that is aimed to achieve the UN's sustainable development goals for 2030.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Nordic leaders also had their photo taken while holding a soccer ball with the UN goals written on it.

"Who rules the world? Riyadh vs. Bergen," Norway's conservative prime minister, Erna Solberg wrote on her Facebook profile on Tuesday (30 May) under the Trump photo and the photo of herself and fellow Nordic leaders.

"Don't know what those in the upper photo were thinking," she wrote. "In the lower one are the five Nordic prime ministers, holding a ball with the sustainability goals. We're hoping they'll be a roadmap for the future."

The two photos captured two very different visions of how the world should develop in future, with the Nordic countries determined to decouple economic growth from climate change.

"For almost two decades now, we have been reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, without negatively affecting jobs and the economy," the Nordic leaders wrote on Monday in a letter published by EUobserver, explaining their vision.

"One thing we want to share with the rest of the world is the work we have done in making cities good places to live. Another is what we have learned about renewable energy, and market models for sustainable energy investment," the Nordic leaders said.

"We want to enter into dialogue and partnerships with other regions, share our good solutions with them and get to know about theirs."

The Nordic prime ministers meet regularly within the Nordic Council of ministers, which is currently chaired by Norway.

The five countries have different international relations. Three are EU members (Denmark, Sweden, and Finland), three are in Nato (Denmark, Norway, and Iceland), while only one has adopted the euro as its currency (Finland).

Despite these differences and the leaders' varied party affiliations, they maintain close and personal relations via their meetings in the Nordic council.

At their talks in Bergen, the prime ministers officially launched the global initiative and set aside €10 million to present Nordic knowledge to the wider world on transition to a greener economy, of gender equality at work, and of sustainable food and welfare solutions.

"I personally believe that all of our good systems are based on our history, it takes a long time and you can't just transform our societies into other societies. But you can inspire people to find a way to move towards that based on their own history and background," Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister, told EUobserver.

"I think it is very important that we are not talking about Western ideas, we have to talk about universal ideas and individual rights," she said.

"The Nordic countries have found such good solutions for a combination of family life and work life which makes it much more easy for woman to participate fully in the work force. I think we can be an inspiration”.

Letter

Nordic contribution to global goals

Prime ministers of the Nordic countries took the decision on Monday to launch a new initiative focused on Nordic solutions to global societal challenges.

Swedes warned of EU collapse ahead of vote

The EU would "collapse" if parties like the far-right Sweden Democrats took power across Europe, Sweden's former leader, Carl Bildt, said in a TV duel six days ahead of elections.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us