Finnish Presidency 2016

Water, nature and people are the focus of the 2016 Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The theme of people emphasises the strengths of the welfare state and the challenges related to the Nordic social model.

Other themes listed on the agendas of ministerial councils include the elimination of border obstacles and promoting the common interests of the Nordic countries in the European Union. The objective is to take Nordic values into consideration and take part in effective cooperation and exchange of information in the implementation and preparation of EU regulations.

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its areas of responsibility

During the Finnish presidency, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for issues related to both occupational health and safety as well as food. Finland will act as chair in both social affairs and health policy and gender equality policy ministerial councils and committees for senior officials.

Social and health policy

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health wishes to promote Nordic cooperation in welfare policy and matters of public health, as well as compiling a vision for the future of the social welfare and healthcare system.

The objective is to promote Nordic cooperation in the field of social insurance, take into account Nordic values and find methods to together influence the EU's social security legislation which is presently being reformed.

The three-year shared priority project "Hyvinvoivien ihmisten innovatiivinen ja avoin Pohjola 2020 – Mahdollisuuksien tasa-arvoa hyvinvoinnista, kulttuurista, koulutuksesta ja työstä" ("Chance for culture, welfare and employment for everyone") by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy will begin in 2016. The objective of the priority project is to gather and refine information on welfare in cooperation with Member States and autonomous regions, so that knowledge could be better used to support decision-making.

During its term as chair, Finland will continue to implement the recommendations listed in Bo Könberg's report "The Future of Nordic Health Co-operation". Nordic ministers of social affairs and health have approved the report's recommendations and agreed on further measures.

  • resistance to antibiotics
  • specialised medical care
  • rare diseases
  • public health
  • health inequalities
  • psychiatry
  • preparedness of health care
  • public servant exchange
  • mobility of patients
  • wellbeing technology
  • e-health
  • Report: The future of Nordic health co-operation

Equality policy

During the finnish presidency, the objectives for the equality sector will include pre-emption of human trafficking, models for putting an end to violence, issues on equality in the media and pre-emption of female circumcision. Additionally, during Finland's term, a decision will be made on how the council of ministers will continue its work related to men and equality.

Occupational health and safety

The occupational health and safety sector participates in the work of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Labour (ÄK-A) and acts as chair of the work environment division which is under the committee. The themes of Finland's term as chair will include changing work life and its effects on the work environment, as well as the risk-based occupational safety and health monitoring of the work environment.


The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is participating in the work of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Food Issues (ÄK-FJLS) and events during the term that will promote good nutrition, such as events on food education and culture and responsible eating.

During the Finnish presidency, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will also develop cooperation between Nordic institutions. These institutions include the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues (NVC), the Nordic Institute for Advanced Training in Occupational Health (NIVA) and Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK).

Further information

Maria Waltari, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Kansainvälisten asioiden yksikkö / KVR 0295163337