Nordic Cooperation amid Pandemic Travel Restrictions – launch of the new report

The Covid-19 pandemic effect for the Nordic cooperation was very clear when pandemic measures questioned free movement within the Nordic Region. This led to a situation when cross-border commuters were subjected to differential treatment and faced issues that affected their daily lives. The Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) is organising a webinar to present the outcomes of the recently published ‘Nordic Cooperation amid Pandemic Travel Restrictions‘ report, focusing on the Nordic Cooperation and the consequences of travel restrictions during Covid-19. 

The webinar aims to explore the situation both at the political level and for cross-border regions. It also seeks to discuss whether there is room for improvement in handling a crisis like the pandemic. Nordregio Research Fellow Alberto Giacometti, one of the report’s authors, will give a presentation about the consequences of pandemic measures upon cross-border regions, focusing on Tornedalen, Svinesund and Öresund from the perspective of economics, social and labour issues. 

According to Alberto Giacometti, one of the most valuable contributions of this report is the nuances identified about trust and its implications in the Nordic Region.

“Trust is the glue that keeps collaboration in place at every level. Be it amongst family members, friends, business partners, and institutions, both political and non-political. Fear is the symptom or the result of distrust and occurs when we draw distinct lines between ‘us and them’. Policy-makers need to act upon the lessons of the pandemic if we are to rebuild trust, and particularly, trust on the possibility of living a normal life across borders,” says the researcher.

Border restrictions undermine all aspects of life and business in border communities. The disruption of people’s lives in border areas has been challenging, frustrating, and a wake-up call to the realities of those choosing a borderless life. Several themes emerge from the cases in these four Nordic countries, including the impact of the measures and border closures, regional economic structural changes, and changing social structures. 

Speakers of the webinar:

  • Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality
  • Kristin Haugevik, Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Alberto Giacometti, Research Fellow, Nordregio
  • Katja Creutz, Programme Director,FIIA
  • Johan Strang, Associate Professor, University of Helsinki
  • Mikael Wigell, Research Director, FIIA

The FIIA “Nordic Cooperation amid Pandemic Travel Restrictions” report is the outcome of the “Nordic Cooperation and the Consequences of Travel Restrictions during Covid-19” research project, financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers, as part of the 2021 Finnish presidency.

Find the programme of the webinar here.

Watch the recording of the webinar here.

And the report is available here.