According to an opinion poll commissioned by the Nordic Council in autumn 2006, people
in Scandinavia and Finland would like to see closer co-operation among themselves, with
8 out 10 being aware of the Nordic Council and/or Council of Ministers. Admittedly the
score was slightly below the figure reached in a similar survey in 1993. However, 3 out
of 4 people now regard Nordic co-operation as valuable, whereas in 1993 the
corresponding figure was just over 50 per cent.
At the same time, the respondents felt that this co-operation made little difference
for individual citizens. Six out of ten cited environmental issues and fighting crime
as the most important areas of co-operation.
In many areas the Nordic countries constitute a single market. An active process of
Nordic integration is under way, particularly in banking, investments and insurance,
telecommunications, media, retailing and the forest industry.
Every year, some 40,000 Nordic citizens move from one country to another within the
area. Cross-border trade is lively, while commuting across the Öresund Bridge, linking
Denmark and Sweden, increases continuously.
But despite decades of active integration, a number of bureaucratic barriers and a
degree of ignorance still exist, hindering the free movement of people, goods, and
services in the Nordic region. These border barriers have been on the Nordic agenda
since the start of the 2000s and while considerable progress has been made, a lot
remains to be done.
The fall of the Berlin Wall could have paved the way for closer Nordic co-operation on
defense and trade, but mutual competition between the countries still gets in the way.