Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen hopes that the Nordic parliaments and their committees would engage in closer cooperation to remove old border obstacles and prevent the creation of new obstacles. Vanhanen spoke on the matter at the Speakers' Conference organised in connection with the Nordic Council on Tuesday 29 October.
"Preventing the creation of new border obstacles is equally as important as removing old obstacles. The Nordic countries should improve their coordination and exchange of information when it comes to the implementation of new, national regulations, especially when implementing EU directives. We should require all ministries and governments to implement EU directives consistently throughout the Nordic countries, thus eliminating the risk of creating legislative differences and, as a result, Nordic border obstacles. The creation of new obstacles can also be prevented through national means. When preparing a bill, for example, it would be important to consider the bill's consequences to those moving from one Nordic country to another," said Vanhanen.
A border obstacle refers to laws and public regulations or policies that hinder the mobility or individuals or cross-border business activities in the Nordic countries. Border obstacles usually stem from the application of a regulation or a law that, as such, is correct and valid, but entails a border obstacle unbeknownst to the authorities. At the individual level, the key border obstacles are related to taxation, social benefits, the availability of social welfare and healthcare services and labour restrictions.
In connection with the Nordic Speakers' Conference, Vanhanen had a meeting with Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Speaker of the Icelandic parliament, and Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, President of the Norwegian assembly, in addition to which the Speakers attended a lunch hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf.