The Nordic Council on the situation in Ukraine: “international law key”

The situation in the Ukraine was debated at a prolonged Nordic Council Theme Session in Iceland last week. While defence and foreign policy is not a formal part of Nordic co-operation, there was agreement across party lines that the situation is a matter of concern for Nordic co-operation and that this was a reason to have an extra long current affairs debate.

“This is a unique situation in the world, and a unique situation for us”, said this year’s President Karin Åström in her opening speech. She was supported by Vice-President Hans Wallmark who stressed the importance of debate since Nordic co-operation did not have any manual for situations like the present: “We are not a defence or foreign policy union, but a community of common values which works because of a belief in fundamental public international law”, said Mr Wallmark.

Several speakers highlighted the historical perspective and said that a similar situation to what is now happening in Ukraine now has not been seen since World War II.

In a statement, the Nordic Council stressed the will of the Nordic Council to support Ukraine in this process is based on its long tradition of support for democracy and the rule of law: “Just as the Nordic countries supported the new Baltic democracies two decades ago, the Nordic Region is today willing to support democracy in Ukraine.”

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Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having studied and worked in the field for more than 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012. In addition to working for foreign missions, she has worked in sectors such as NGOs and non-profit organisations (e.g. the Clinton Foundation and the International Red Cross), and television.