The Nordic Council of Ministers, NCM, was created in 1971 to intensify co-operation among the governments of the five Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland). The secretariat of the NCM is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since March 2013, the Secretary General of the NCM has been Dagfinn Høybråten. Mr Høybråten has visited Estonia often, last time 30.11.2018 when he also met President Kersti Kaljulaid.
Co-operation between the Nordic Council of Ministers and Estonia was established in 1991, when the NCM opened offices in the capitals of the Baltic countries. That started a close partnership between Estonia and the NCM, which takes the form of numerous co-operative projects in many different fields.
Since early 2015, the Nordic Council of Ministers´ Office in Estonia has been led by Christer Haglund. The office’s task is to widely introduce Nordic co-operation and manage all of the co-operative projects and programmes. Both public and private sector organisations, as well as civic organisations can apply for NCM projects. In order to ensure effective co-operation throughout the country, there are also branches of the NCM Office in Tartu and in Narva. In early 2016, the Nordic Council of Ministers´ Office in Estonia celebrated 25 years of operations in Estonia.
The basis for the cooperation between the NCM and the Baltic countries is governed by guidelines, which are updated every five years. In October of 2013, new cooperation guidelines for the period of 2014-2018 were adopted. The guidelines set the focus on a number of themes, which are:
• Education, research and innovation
• Business, cluster cooperation and creative industries
• The environment, climate and energy
• The challenges faced by welfare societies, including cross-border issues affecting both the Baltic, as well as Nordic countries, such as demographic changes, migration, organised crime and human trafficking.
The NCM Office in Estonia is a strong connector between Nordic countries and Estonia. Through the work of three branches in Estonia – Tallinn, Tartu and Narva - the exchange of knowledge and experiences moves in both directions – the office introduces Nordic values in Estonia, but it also brings the best of Estonia to the Nordic countries.
Our cooperation has developed from assistance programmes to equal, direct partnership in many areas. Estonia appreciates very highly initiatives to encourage the practical cooperation possibilities between Estonia and different Nordic institutions. We see the highest potential in the educational, scientific and cultural cooperation. Estonia is very delighted to be a partner in Nordplus lifelong learning programme already for ten years. Estonia is interested to cooperate with the NordForsk, an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers that provides funding for and facilitates Nordic cooperation on research and research infrastructure. Estonia has also submitted an application to join the Nordisk Film & TV Fond.
The work of the NCM is chaired by one of the five Member States on a rotating basis (generally the order is: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland). In 2018, Sweden holds the Presidency of the NCM. In 2019, the Presidency will be assumed by Island.