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The Nordic Region has a natural voice in the G20

Magnus Gissler, General Secretary Magnus Gissler, General Secretary

The importance of the G20 has increased in the international arena. This can be seen against the backdrop of the economic crisis and it has become increasingly difficult for the international community to quickly reach a consensus in important multilateral agreements. Through the G20, issues are in practice already agreed on before the formal decisions are made by the official international bodies. The Nordic Region has currently no influence in the G20 and an observer seat means that the Nordic countries, which do not qualify individually, lack vital influence.

The Nordic Region has a strong tradition of being an active member of international organisations. Therefore, the Nordic trade union confederations, through the Council of Nordic Trade Unions, are of the opinion that the Nordic countries should jointly actively seek to cooperate with the G20. The Council of Nordic Trade Unions represents 9 million unionised workers in the Nordic Region.

"The Nordic economies are often described as successful role models from an international point of view. The Nordic model has been highlighted by, for example, the OECD and the World Economic Forum as a social model that is better able to manage a crisis than most other models, which as far as the Nordic Region is concerned leads to the contribution of constructive proposals regarding G20 work on sustainable growth and competitiveness", according to Magnus Gissler, General Secretary of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions.

The Nordic bargaining model with its extensive labour market regulation through collective agreements is unique from both the European as well as the global perspective. It has been successful in creating growth and jobs in the Nordic Region and has evened out income gaps. A central aspect of the model and the way it works is the cooperation between the social partners and the social dialogue. A high level of trade union affiliation, strong independent social partners, the broad scope of the agreements and constructive cooperation between the social partners are all necessary prerequisites for stability, predictability and industrial peace. The model, which makes it possible to manage structural changes and conversion, has a good international reputation.

"We urge the Nordic governments of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers to coordinate and look into Regions that would lead to Nordic influence and cooperation with the G20", says Lauri Lyly, President of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions.

The Nordic Trade Union position

The Nordic trade union confederations, through the Council of Nordic Trade Unions, are of the opinion that the Nordic countries should jointly actively seek to cooperate with the G20. This position was adopted by the Board of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions the 11th of May, 2016. The Council of Nordic Trade Unions represents 9 million unionised workers in the Nordic Region.

  1. The trade union confederations, through the Council of Nordic Trade Union (NFS), are of the opinion that the Nordic countries should seek to cooperate with the G20. The cooperation should be in the shape of dialogue and consultation with the social partners.
  2. We urge the Nordic governments of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers to coordinate and look into the Regions that would lead to Nordic influence and cooperation with the G20.
  3. The Nordic model with strong individual independent social partners can promote a sustainable, inclusive and fair working life; socially, economically and ecologically; in the Nordic Region, Europe and globally. Both the L20 and B20 are therefore a given forum for the Nordic social partners.

2017 G20 Hamburg summit

During the spring of 2016 the board of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS) adopted a policy on a Nordic presence in the G20 group under the heading “The Nordic Region has a natural voice at the G20” (see above).

Later same year it was annonced that Norway and Prime Minister Erna Solberg was invited by Germany and Chancellor Angela as a guest during the german G20-presidency 2017, the same year during which Norway chaired the Nordic Council of Ministers

Against this background the NFS Executive Committee adopted a second policy (below) which is one stage towards enhancing the issue of Nordic influence in G20 and the global agenda. There is an international demand for Nordic experiences to be able to resolve future challenges. In our opinion the Nordic governments and Nordic Council of Ministers should share Nordic experiences with G20 in order to attain Agenda 2030 and the objectives for sustainable development in the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda.