Inflation and productivity top finance and economy ministers’ agenda
27th of November 2023
Coping with high inflation has been a top priority for the Nordic finance and economy ministers in recent years. Although increases in the rate of inflation may have slowed down in most of the Nordic countries, sustained inflation and the risk of negative effects on the national economies and labour markets remain key challenges. The ministers discussed the priorities for fiscal policy in the Nordic countries in light of the risk of sustained inflation and other risks, including the geopolitical situation in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Boost growth potential and competitiveness
The ministers discussed what their countries can do individually and collectively to boost productivity and growth in the Nordic Region. The discussion was based on a presentation by the OECD and its recommendations to the Nordic countries, including from the latest OECD report, Going for Growth 2023. The Nordic countries may be among the most productive in the world but like other developed economies growth in productivity has been slow for a number of years.
– “It is important that we address the fiscal challenges we all face and talk about how working together in the Nordic Council of Ministers can underpin national efforts to boost the long-term growth potential and competitiveness of the Nordic Region,” said the Icelandic Minister of Finance and Economy Affairs, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, who chaired the meeting. Iceland holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers this year.
Learning from energy support schemes
The ministers also discussed what the Nordic countries have learned about measures introduced to mitigate the costs of rises in the price of energy. In 2022 and 2023, several Nordic countries set up schemes to offset high energy prices, especially for hard-hit households and businesses, and the meeting agreed to collate what had been learned from them. This will be useful information for policy development at national level and in the event of similar crises in the future. As a rule, the Nordic finance ministers meet once a year to discuss challenges faced in economic and fiscal policy and how Nordic co-operation on these issues can create greater value for the countries involved. The next meeting is expected to be held in 2024 during the Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
It is important that we address the fiscal challenges we all face and talk about how working together in the Nordic Council of Ministers can underpin national efforts to boost the long-term growth potential and competitiveness of the Nordic Region.