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Nordregio at the “Migrants and the Nordic Labour Market” conference

Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Nora Sánchez Gassen participates at the “Migrants and the Nordic Labour Market: In the Shadow of the Pandemic” conference, presenting the recently published report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.  The report revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has made social and economic inequalities even more pronounced across the Nordics. In all the countries, foreign-born people have experienced a higher unemployment increase than their native-born peers.  “Immigrants with low educational attainments face the strongest challenges in finding employment in the Nordic labour markets. As we move out of the pandemic, our focus should be on supporting this group in obtaining new skills and competencies that are in demand on the labour markets,” says Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The conference, organised by the Nordic Welfare Centre, aims to bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in search of sustainable solutions and promote an exchange of experiences between the Nordic countries.  Read more about the conference here. Read the report here.

New Report: COVID-19 increased the employment gap in the Nordic labour markets

A new study by Nordregio shows that the pandemic has increased social and economic inequalities in the Nordics. In all countries, foreign-born employees have lost their jobs to a larger extent than their native-born peers, especially individuals born outside of the EU, with lower levels of education. But some industries have been thriving during the pandemic and now employ more immigrants than before. The report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” reveals a somewhat complex picture when comparing the Nordic countries, and discusses how to move forward. “Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, were already facing challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets, especially those with low education. The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced these challenges even further. Action is needed to ensure that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic do not end up in a situation of long-term unemployment,” says Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The authors underline the need to quickly reinstate and accelerate on-site vocational training combined with language courses for recently arrived and other unemployed immigrants, to compensate for the less effective online courses offered during the pandemic. If immigrants can obtain skills and competencies that are required or in high demand on the labour market, their chances to find employment should increase. “We can see that many jobs were lost as a consequence of the pandemic, especially in the hospitality and retail industries. But we have also seen an increase in jobs in certain industries, like for instance utilities services. And it seems that the foreign-born population is a substantial part of that increase,” says Oskar Penje, Cartographer at Nordregio. In the report, researchers stress that the current crisis has also underscored the need for uniform social insurance systems. Statistics from Norway show that immigrants from new EU member countries in Central…

Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?

Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…

Open call for picture submission

Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact vaida.razaityte@nordregio.org

Nordregio is hiring: Head of GIS Department

Nordregio is inviting applications for a senior position as Head of GIS Department. Working at Nordregio means an opportunity to become part of a truly international research environment with a focus on sustainable regional development in the Nordic region and beyond. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your competences through applied and policy relevant research, achieving an international network of contacts, as well as getting extensive experience in team and project management. You will also get rich opportunities to collaborate with regional and municipal stakeholders in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is currently seeking a new Head of GIS Department with: Expertise in GIS, geo-data, quantitative analysis, and applied research in the field of regional development. Experience in leading a team and managing projects as well as a successful track record in grant applications. Knowledge in geographies and socio-economic trends in the Nordic Region and beyond. A drive for working in teams and in an international applied research environment. Eagerness to present and disseminate results to different stakeholder groups, both orally and in written format. Competences and qualifications As Head of GIS Department, you both lead and manage the GIS-team by planning and organising tasks and activities, communicate with each team member and contribute to their development. You are also a project manager with responsibilities to attract, initiate and lead externally funded research and innovation projects. The geographic scope of your field of interest includes a European and international perspective and expert knowledge in at least one of the Nordic countries. We appreciate abilities in external networking and in communication with stakeholders. Internally we appreciate analytical and creative skills, complemented by abilities to both cooperate and work on your own. For this position, you have at least 6 years of relevant work experience and an extensive network…

Future Migration Scenarios for Europe: wrapping up the first year

During the first year of the FUME project, the partners have been collecting statistical data on a very detailed level, exploring the main drivers and scenarios for migration, as well as preparing to the case studies in the countries, from which people are moving to Europe. As the first year of the FUME project comes to an end, the project is on track and the first results are being finalised. The FUME team has collected large amounts of data from various sources to inform our migration modelling and worked with national statistics offices and other authorities to gain access to confidential data that can further refine the models. The initial round of deliverables has been uploaded and the first academic articles have been submitted. Finally, we have established a productive network with our sister projects QuantMig and HumMingBird. Like everyone’s life, the project has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After meeting in person once for the kick-off conference in January, the colleagues at the FUME consortium institutions have mostly been working from home since March and all project meetings had to be held virtually. Moreover, the pandemic has also impacted our planned case studies in countries of origin; however, we are now well underway to start the interviews there with the help of local partners. Besides those country of origin studies, we have a number of activities coming up in the new year: The destination case studies in Amsterdam, Rome, Cracow and Copenhagen will be pushed forward with the local partners; we will conduct a Delphi survey to inform the scenario building; model development will continue and the first results can be expected over the course of the year; and last but not least, we are optimistic that we will be able to meet again face to face…

Matching skills for future labour market

Regions and regional labour markets are facing many challenges such as the ageing population and lack of skills, digitalisation and automation of the economy along with the current Covid-19 crisis. Education and skills are cornerstones for contemporary societies in trying to deal with these changes.  The project “Skills Policies – Building Capacities for Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions” has analysed how Nordic regions work with skills assessment and anticipation, skills development and skills governance. Which skills will be needed in future? And what are the enabling and hampering factors for skills development? We are happy to share our main findings in a report and a policy brief, including recommendations for policymakers on how to create skills ecosystems for resilient societies. The topic was also featured in the third session of Nordregio Forum this year. The project is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020.

Apply to the Nordic Arctic Co-operation Programme

The Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers has opened up its call for new project applications for financial support in 2021. Deadline for sending in proposals is 1st February 2021 (12:00 CET). The aim of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Cooperation Programme 2018-2021 is to create sustainable and constructive development in the Arctic and for its people based on the four P’s: planet, peoples, prosperity and partnerships. The programme is administered by Nordregio, with one round of applications per programme years.

Stronger cross-border cooperation after the pandemic

Cross-border activities came dramatically to a halt in the spring of 2020 as a result of measures adopted to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. The ability to work, socialise, do business and use services across borders is an integral part of daily life in border communities all across the Nordic countries and Europe. Since the pandemic hit, border communities have faced extraordinary challenges as national borders were suddenly closed and various other restrictions were put in place. These obstacles were at the centre of attention at an online event “Strengthening cross-border communities: Lessons from Covid-19” organised by Nordregio together with the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund cross-border committees on the 12th November 2020. By Páll Tómas Finnsson, Communications consultant at Finnsson & Co Increased awareness of the value of cross-border cooperation “In times of crisis, it’s always possible to find opportunities,” said Martin Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions. He gave a European perspective on the challenges facing border regions, not only because of the pandemic but also in light of political developments such as Brexit and the increasing nationalism throughout Europe. In his talk, Ramírez emphasised that the current challenges should be regarded as an opportunity to further boost cross-border collaboration in the future. “Many of the nation states in Europe decided to close their borders to contain the pandemic, but in some cases, they were reopened less than 24 hours later because of the high level of interaction in the border areas,” he explained. According to Ramírez, the situation has brought the importance of integrated border communities higher up on both the national and European agendas. “This represents an important turn of events, considering that we started the year with the announcement that there would be a budget reduction for cross-border cooperation in…

“Radical, equal, innovative and attractive” – The future for rural Europe?

A vital countryside is “attractive to all age groups and satisfying to live, work and spend leisure time in..”: This is how Slovenian rural actors envisage the rural future when opinions were gathered in the Horizon2020-project SHERPA to contribute to the EU’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas. The input from the rural actors in 20 European countries has been sent to the European Commission and will be discussed within a European platform this week. SHERPA (Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors) is a four-year Horizon2020 project (2019-23) gathering knowledge to contribute to the formulation of recommendations for future EU policies relevant for rural areas. It engages actors in science, society and policy in Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs). Twenty MAPs were established in early 2020, distributed across Europe. Initial activity of these Platforms was to identify local challenges and opportunities – and create a vision for the development of their territory until 2040. The diversity of these characteristics of rural territories was clearly reflected in the discussions of the MAPs. However, several key, common themes and issues emerged as characteristics of a desirable future. Discussions confirmed the significance of: i) the predominant trend of demographic shift. Depopulation, especially in intermediate and remote areas, and population ageing, have been identified as the main demographic challenges currently faced by European rural areas; ii) climate change, through greater frequency of extreme meteorological phenomena such as higher temperatures (leading to drought and forest fires) and lower annual precipitation, which affect activities carried out in rural areas (e.g. agriculture, forestry and fishing); iii) the rise of digitisation of services and the use of new technologies. However, access to broadband remains uneven across territories. Rural areas are attractive in their own right: as a consequence of the high quality of life available, many European rural…

Online workshop 24 September: NordMap in a nutshell

We are happy to invite you to the 3rd online NordMap workshop on 24 September at 9 am, where you will get a change to be introduced to NordMap in a nutshell and get familiar with the tool in 30min. During the workshop we will show you how to: Find the statistics and infographics for regions Create maps and share them with others Find similar regions and municipalities Use time series to see change over time Play around with map colours or design map in favoured spectrum   Sign up here: https://www.lyyti.fi/reg/Online_Workshop_NordMap_2_1296 And visit Nordmap here: http://nordmap.org/        

Online workshop 27 August: Learn to make maps in 30min!

NordMap is easy and free to use web-mapping tool – We are happy to show you online on 27 August at 9am, and it only takes about 30min! Are you studying or working with regional development and planning? Or perhaps just interested in regional and municipal differences when it comes to ageing, employment figures or the economy in the Nordic Region? All topics related to State of the Nordic Region are included in NordMap and data continuously updated. NordMap is easy to use and you don’t need any previous mapping experience. Sign up here: https://www.lyyti.in/Online_Workshop_NORDMAP_5794 And visit Nordmap: http://nordmap.org/          

New report: Building affordable homes

Why does the contemporary Nordic welfare state lack affordable housing? Nordic cities are segregated, and new housing development, application of diverse forms of tenure, and housing subsidies are examples of tools that can either worsen or reduce segregation, depending on how they are used. The focus of this publication is primarily on new building for low-income and vulnerable groups, often referred to in English as ‘affordable housing’, that is, housing for groups on the market’s periphery who suffer from high barriers. The financial aspects of housing are central, especially as regards new-building costs, subsidies, social housing models, and affordability. The market seems unable, on its own, to supply enough suitable housing for students, young people, low-income groups, and newly arrived immigrants, among others. This is of political interest since it challenges the whole idea of the Nordic welfare model, and social cohesion and equality as characteristics of the Nordic region. This report is the result of work done for the thematic group Sustainable Cities and Urban Development.

Nordic Economic Policy Review at Nordic Finance Ministers meeting in Washington

Last week of October, during the IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Finance met to discuss common issues. Nordregio’s Director Kjell Nilsson participated in the meeting since Nordregio had delivered background material to two of the items on the agenda: the efficiency of the Nordic countries’ climate policies and the effects of different measures for better integration of immigrants on the Nordic labour markets. They agreed that commitment and strong Nordic leadership is needed in the first case and that getting into work or education as fast as possible is a crucial prerequisite for successful integration.                    

New issue of Nordregio Magazine: Jobs for immigrants

The Nordic countries have received more refugees than most other regions in Europe in the last years.Finding jobs for these new citizens is a major challenge, if they end up staying. The latest issue of Nordregio Magazine presents the highlights from a new Nordic report on labour market integration produced by Nordregio for the Nordic Council of Ministers. It includes a series of policy advice and outlines a path towards better integration of immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. Read the magazine

Many faces of segregated cities: a Nordic Overview

Nordic event and new report highlight the need for increased efforts to combat segregation in Nordic cities. Nordic cities are segregated and characterized by economic and social barriers that challenge the idea of the Nordic region as inclusive and socially just. Many cities in the Nordic region are therefore working to overcome the barriers and this objective can be detected for instance in their strategies for urban planning, neighborhood regeneration, housing policy and integration of immigrants. Nordic Welfare Center and The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society organize a seminar in Stockholm on April 3 to discuss these issues and provide successful examples from the Nordic Region on how to combat segregation. A new report on “The segregated city: A Nordic overview”, by Nordregio Senior Researcher Moa Tunström will be presented at the conference, where representatives from relevant ministries from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden will also discuss their respective national policies for combatting segregation. Structural causes of segregation “The segregated city – a Nordic overview” focuses on structural causes of segregation and planning policies in Nordic cities and also brings up the challenges related to refugee housing. The latter is an issue that Nordregio studies in depth in an ongoing project called Long-term planning for inclusive cities in the Nordic region, which will be finalized later this year. In past years, the number of asylum seekers have decreased in Sweden, but the municipalities are still struggling with accommodating refugees, partly due to the large number of asylum seekers in 2015 and to the national housing shortage. Finding housing is a mandatory task for the municipalities, but cities are becoming more segregated and these types of housing solutions can be met with resistance from the local population. At the same time, the Swedish system where refugees and asylum seekers…

6-8 March ReNEW conference: Sweden and Finland front-runners in naturalisation

The Nordic societies are increasingly multicultural and the number of the population with foreign background is on the rise. Naturalisation is often viewed as “the last step” of the integration process where a person is granted the citizenship of their host country. This year, the 3rd annual ReNEW conference takes place 6-8 March, in Copenhagen and focuses on global challenges and Nordic solutions, discussing also migration and integration in the Nordics. According to a Eurostat study, Sweden is leading among the Nordics, with more than 18% of the population being born outside of its borders and research from 2016 conducted by Nordregio showed that Sweden and Finland are front-runners when it comes to naturalisation rates. But, there are clear disparities among Nordic countries regarding this process and these might be caused by the differences in requirements. For example: Sweden is the only Nordic country that does not require language skills when applying for citizenship, the duration of residence also varies, in Sweden and Finland it being the shortest – five years, while in Denmark, a foreign-born person has to live for nine years before being able to become a citizen. Furthermore, Denmark has passed a law that requires all people applying for citizenship to shake hands with officials during the naturalisation ceremony. ReNEW, which stands for Reimagining Norden in an evolving world, hosts panels on topics that are extremely relevant in the current climate, such as: Nordic cooperation and region building, democracy and governance, public policy, gender equality, multiculturalism, education and other ones. Nordregio Senior Research Fellow, Anna Karlsdottir, will be facilitating the panel on Nordic variation when it comes to the integration of refugees and migrants. Anna will also offer a presentation regarding the naturalisation process and citizenship policies and their particularities across the Nordic countries, based on findings from research conducted…

Nordic cooperation – an important milestone for integration and knowledge exchange

Senior Research Fellow Anna Karlsdóttir published an article on labour market integration in the Nordic countries and the extensive collaboration between the Nordic countries in the latest issue of Baltic RIM Economies. Nordregio and Nordic Welfare Centre, both institutions under the Nordic Council of Ministers, have for the last couple of years cooperated on integration projects in the Nordic countries. The clearing central on integration is the hub in this and Nordregio has contributed with research. The Baltic RIM Economies focuses on development of the Baltic Sea Region and is published by The Pan-European Institute. Download the BRE Magazine here

Nordic Nightmare Before Christmas

Have we failed to integrate Christmas traditions? Risalamande, luumukiisseli, malt og appelsin, gløgg, julmust, Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul, Home Alone and Nightmare before Christmasare dishes, drinks and movies are all part of the Christmas season traditions in the Nordic Region. Nordregio, with the help of Santa, has done a very thorough study across the Nordic Region on Christmas traditions and one observation is quite striking: the Nordic Christmas traditions are very country specific and not integrated at all! Indeed, zooming in at the regional level, there is not much variation within a country how people spend their Christmas. In Norway for instance, pepparkakor and Julmust seem to be quite popular in all the regions, but there are differences among the favourite movies: Home Alone is the most searched movie in seven regions, including the newest administrative region of Trøndelag. The eight other regions of Norway, as well as Gotland and Österbotten, prefer Kalle Anka to accompany pepparkakor and Julmust. In Finland, Christmas seems to be connected to glögi and either rice pudding or Christmas cake. However, the main difference with the other parts of the Nordic Region is the favourite movie: Christmas comedies and romantic movies in Finland do not seem to be as popular as dark fantasy Christmas movies such as Rare Exports or The Nightmare before Christmas. In Åland, Sweden and Denmark, the large majority of regions highlight a preference for Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul along with snaps. The main difference is in the Christmas treat: risalamande in Denmark and pepparkakor in Sweden and Åland. Note that a number of administrative regions have a balanced Christmas profile, i.e. no specific dish, drink or movie is significantly above the Nordic average. It can be explained by a relatively significant mix of…

Working with geospatial analysis and visualisation in the Nordics

Large amounts of geo-data, easy access to geo-data via websites and applications, as well as the availability of online visualisation tools, all contribute to a larger production of maps in less time than before. However, it remains a delicate exercise to design suitable geo-data visualisation products, since several choices have to be done between the collection of the geo-data and the finalisation of a map. Furthermore, it is not only important to present the right facts on a map. It is also important to tell a story – a fact-based story using a suitable geo-data visualisation. On 16-18 October, the 11th European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) conference invites stakeholders, scientists, statisticians and others to discuss the integration of statistics and geospatial information in Helsinki. More insights on the joys and the challenges of producing maps of socio-economic indicators in the Nordic Region will be shared by Julien Grunfelder, Head of the GIS department at Nordregio. His key-note speech “The delicate exercise of geo-data visualisation” will be given on the second day of the conference. Together with Cartographer/GIS Analyst Shinan Wang, he will also present the web-mapping tool Nordmap, which allows you to create maps and time-lapses in the Nordic region. More at: http://efgs2018.fi/