Regional solidarity stressed at Nordic and NB8 conference call
The Foreign Ministers of Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden emphasize the solidarity of the Nordic countries and their co-operation in the face of the great challenges facing the world at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five ministers had a conference call yesterday where they agreed on the importance of the Nordic countries standing firmly together during these times of uncertainty.
"We have seen state borders being closed, one after the other. Under these circumstances, it is important to reaffirm the value of our unique Nordic region and that Nordic co-operation will stay strong," says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, who participated in the meeting on behalf of Iceland together with Foreign Ministers Jeppe Kofod of Denmark, Ann Linde of Sweden, as well as State Secretaries Audun Halvorsen of Norway and Johanna Sumuvuori of Finland.
The five ministers urge travel agencies and service providers in the tourism industry to continue efforts aimed at assisting passengers in returning back home. At the same time, they consider it urgent that the citizens of the Nordic countries are allowed to move freely through the Nordic countries' respective airports in order to reach their countries of origin. Furthermore, they stressed importance of ensuring that Nordic citizens have appropriate access to consular services of the other Nordic countries’ when needed. The citizens of the five Nordic countries should also have appropriate access to services based on European co-operation, when necessary.
The Foreign Ministers of Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway (State Secretary) and Sweden, also held a joint Nordic-Baltic meeting yesterday on the response to the situation caused by the spread of COVID-19. They emphasized the need to coordinate and co-operate closely on consular services, stressed the importance to work together to ensure transit for EU and EEA citizens and permanent residents who are returning home. Finally, they emphasized the importance of working together to minimize the impacts on the economy and ensuring that markets remain open and international transport of goods is ensured.