Finland assumed the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers on 1 January 2016. The Presidency will last the calendar year 2016 and culminate in the Nordic Council's week of sessions at the turn of October and November. The annual session of the Nordic Council in 2016 will be held in Copenhagen because Denmark holds the rotating Presidency of the inter-governmental cooperation before Finland.
The cooperation is led by the Nordic prime ministers. A member of each Nordic Government is designated to be responsible for Nordic cooperation matters. Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner serves as Finland's Minister for Nordic Cooperation.
Finland's Presidency programme was published at the Nordic Council's Session in Reykjavik on 28 October 2015. The programme is available at http://www.norden.org/en and on the Foreign Ministry's website. The website for Finland’s Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers will be open from 1 January 2016 at http://norden2016.fi/en/home/.
The Finnish Presidency will focus on the following themes: promoting Nordic water know-how and water policy; reinforcing Nordic nature values and promoting sustainable development and international climate commitments; strengthening the Nordic welfare society; promoting digitalisation; dismantling cross-border barriers and preventing the creation of new obstacles to cross-border freedom of movement between the Nordic countries; as well as developing greater synergy between the North and the European Union.
In practice, the Presidency will be managed by the entire state administration, and the Presidency themes will also be promoted in cooperation with civil society organisations and the research community.
The Presidency is also responsible for follow-up of and preparation of matters concerning the Nordic Council of Ministers' common external relations. The Nordic Council of Ministers has a cooperation programme in North-West Russia and wide cooperation in the Baltic States. The cooperation programme with the Baltic States will celebrate its 25th anniversary during the Finnish Presidency.