Nordic transport ministers held a digital meeting on Monday, March 21, chaired by Transport Minister John Ivar Nygaard. The participants were Thomas Eneroth from Sweden, Timo Haraka from Finland, Trine Bramsen from Denmark, and Sigurur Inge Johansson from Iceland.
Initially, Nygaard addressed the situation in Ukraine. All ministers condemned the Russian invasion and expressed their support for the Ukrainian people. Nygaard informed that Norway follows the EU sanctions regime and that we are ready to accept refugees.
Ministers also discussed how aviation has been affected by the pandemic and what lessons can be learned from the measures that have been implemented to ensure a good transport offer. Everyone agreed that aviation is of great importance in the Nordic countries and that healthy competition should be facilitated and a good road presented. In overtime, one must at the same time contribute to reducing the environmental disadvantages of aviation.
Moreover, the question of social conditions in the transport sector was raised. All ministers expressed their concerns about social dumping and pressure on wages and working conditions in various parts of the transport sector. Among other things, they discussed measures for gender equality and was concerned with close cooperation with parties in working life. Nygård referred to work on the anti-social action plan in Norway and was interested in the further development of Scandinavian cooperation on this matter.
It was an important point about the proposed EU directive on alternative fuels. Norway has proposed a joint Nordic statement, which, among other things, will express its support for ambitions to launch and standardize infrastructure that promotes zero-emission solutions for the transport sector, emphasizes the importance of quality and easy-to-use payment solutions for shipping and points out the need for Freight infrastructure adapted to the Nordic countries with regard to regions with large distances and low population density. This has received wide support.
The last point was related to the further development of cooperation in the management of Scandinavian airspace, which also received the support of all. Norway will take the initiative of a working group that will develop cooperation and systems for managing the airspace over the Nordic countries. The goal is to reduce emissions and to seek cost-effective joint solutions.
– The Minister of Transport says that meeting colleagues from the Nordic countries is always useful and interesting. The Nordic countries share many challenges, and it has been agreed that many questions will be pursued further. You have garnered broad support for our collaborative initiatives, Nygaard said. Several joint meetings of Nordic transport ministers are scheduled until 2022. Norway will chair the Nordic Council of Ministers this year.