The coronavirus, or covid-19 pandemic is a global health crisis which is affecting society in its entirety, our working lives and every citizen. Human lives and health are at stake, while employment and the economy is affected too. This is why it is crucial to prioritise and coordinate efforts and support given throughout society, in order to manage the effects of the pandemic both in the short and the longer term.

This pandemic has tested Nordic cooperation in many ways. This is especially true for the border regions, where the common labour market is well developed and integrated. Governments and the social partners must find common solutions, that work from a cross-border perspective. We have proposed initiating sectoral tripartite talks, and establishing border councils consisting of the social partners in the border regions. Being able to find workable and balanced joint solutions ultimately depends on trust and confidence both in Nordic cooperation, and in the vision of the Nordic region as world leading in terms of sustainability and integration.

Through close and constructive cooperation between governments and social partners in the Nordic region, in order to manage the effects of the pandemic, the conditions are good for recovery and the possibility for Nordic countries to emerge stronger from this crisis. Both the tripartite process and the Nordic model have demonstrated their strength throughout history. This has meant that the Nordic countries are prepared to face and manage tough situations, such as a pandemic. In addition to direct support for businesses and organisations as well as for employees, it is particularly important to ensure a just and sustainable transition. From our perspective, what is at stake is ensuring a transition in which both those active on the labour market and the unemployed should be able to retrain for new jobs as skills demands change. 

Our shared tax-financed welfare state, including income insurance and good healthcare services for all in demanding times and regardless of income, is a precondition for a healthy and sustainable society. Joint stimulus packages and public investment are crucial in strengthening both vital social functions as well as the Nordic economies. This is the time for Nordic governments to seize the moment and take decisive steps in their climate work, making the investments required in order to reach the goals for sustainable development. Doing this will both save existing jobs and create new ones.