Nordic cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions

Webinar · 26.01.2022 15:00 - 16:15

Since 2020, the Nordic countries have been confronted with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been a multi-level stress test for the region. The strong basis of open borders and free movement in Nordic cooperation has been questioned by national pandemic measures, including wide travel restrictions. The Nordic dimension to pandemic responses has largely been missing, the trust between the countries has arguably been put to test and cross-border commuters have been subjected to differential treatment. The webinar, which is based on a report with the same name published in November 2021, aims to explore these developments both at the political level as well as for cross-border regions. It also seeks to discuss whether there is room for improvement in handling a crises like the pandemic.

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


Opening Words

Thomas Blomqvist

Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality

Thomas Blomqvist (Swedish People’s Party) is the Finnish Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality since 2019. He has been a Member of Parliament since 2007. Blomqvist first took an interest in social issues through municipal politics, and he has been a member of the local council since 1993; first in Ekenäs and then in Raseborg. He has also served as Chair of the Swedish Parliamentary Group.

General Remarks on Nordic Cooperation: Drivers and Constraints

Kristin Haugevik

Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Kristin Haugevik is Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Haugevik holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo (2014). Her research at NUPI revolves around inter-state cooperation, friendship, and diplomacy, with a geographical focus on the European and transatlantic region and the foreign policies of Britain and the Nordic states.

Pandemic Measures and Consequences for Cross-border regions:

Alberto Giacometti

Research Fellow, Nordregio

Alberto Giacometti is Research Fellow at Nordregio, specializing in regional development, governance, and planning processes. He holds a double master’s degree in European Spatial Planning from Radboud University in the Netherlands, and in Regional Development from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola in Sweden.

General Findings of the Report

Katja Creutz

Programme Director, FIIA

Katja Creutz is Acting Programme Director for the Global Security research programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. She is also leading the Nordic Network at the institute. Her main field of expertise is international law and especially issues of responsibility, human rights and global governance. Dr Creutz holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki and a Master of Political Science from Åbo Akademi University.

Comments on the Report:

Johan Strang

Associate Professor, University of Helsinki

Johan Strang is Associate Professor at the Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki, and an Academy of Finland Research Fellow with the project Norden since the End of History (NORDEND, 2019-2024). He is also a member of the steering group of the consortium ReNEW (Reimagining Norden in an evolving world, NordForsk 2018-2023). Strang has published extensively on the political and intellectual history of the Nordic region, and especially Nordic cooperation.


Mikael Wigell

Research Director, FIIA

Mikael Wigell is Research Director at the FIIA and Adjunct Professor at Tampere University. He earned his PhD at the London School of Economics and he has held Visiting Fellowships at Oxford University, the Torcuato di Tella University, Buenos Aires, as well as a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Academy of Finland. He currently leads the 'International Business Risk and Resilience Monitor for Strengthening National Economic Preparedness' project funded by the European Commission, as well as the 'Nordic Security of Supply in an Age of Disruption' project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. His latest book is as editor of the volume 'Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century' (Routledge, 2018; 2020).