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13/02/2009 : Seminar on the Nordics

"The Nordics in the EU - Fiscal similarities and monetary differences"

The three Nordic EU Member States Denmark, Finland and Sweden stand out among EU Members in several respects. They share solid economic growth and sound fundamentals, embracing economic reform required by globalisation and reconciling a highly-developed welfare state with healthy public finances. At the same time, they in several instances take different policy approaches, most notably with regard to the exchange rate regime. As a consequence they choose different responses to the international financial crisis and its repercussions from which they cannot entirely withdraw.

Scope of the seminar

The first session of the Seminar will focus on fiscal policy issues. While Nordic public finances are sound, regular surpluses may pose challenges of its own, such as avoiding the risk of pro-cyclical behaviour or how best to ensure inter-generational equity. Looking further ahead, the key questions relate to the sustainability of the "Nordic approach" in the context of global competition and demographic pressure, and to its role as a model for other EU Member States. The second session will be devoted to monetary policy. In the context of EMU, the Nordic countries offer an interesting case of "insiders and outsiders", each one applying a different exchange rate regime. Obvious questions here relate to the implications of the financial crisis for the choice of regime, or to the longer-term impact of the monetary regime on structural adjustment of the real economy. Each session will be introduced by short presentations by key speakers from each of the three Member States, followed by a general debate stimulated by two/three appointed discussants.

List of speakers and discussants

The list of speakers includes: John Hassler, (Institute for International Economic Studies), Jørgen Elmeskov (OECD) Johnny Ǻkerholm (The Nordic Investment Bank), Ray Barrell (NIESR), Jean Pisani-Ferry (Bruegel), Torben M. Andersen (University of Aarhus), Sixten Korkman (ETLA), Lars Heikensten (European Court of Auditors), Erik F. Nielsen (Goldman Sachs), Jan Fredrik Qvigstad (Norges Bank), Flemming Larsen (Bruegel), and Marco Buti from DG ECFIN.

Date and venue

Brussels, 13 February 2009
Berlaymont, Room Walter Hallstein
Rue de la Loi 200, 1040 Brussels


Deadline for registration: 3 February 2009.


Presentations (copyrights rest with the authors)

  • Jorgen Elmeskov, OECD Economics Department: "The Nordics – champions in fiscal discipline?" enpdf(855 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Johnny Åkerholm, Nordic Investment Bank: "The Nordics in the EU – fiscal similarities and monetary difference" enpdf(435 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Ray Barrell, NIESR: "Fiscal Policy and the Nordic countries" enpdf(487 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Torben M. Andersen, Aarhus University: "Denmark – an outsider mimicking the insiders?" enpdf(34 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Kevin Daly, Goldman Sachs: "The Nordics and EMU" enpdf(55 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Lars Heikensten, Member of the European Court Of Auditors: "Presentation for Seminar on the Nordics" enpdf(229 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
    pdf(229 kB)
    Choose translations of the previous link 


For any queries, please contact the organising team by e-mail.

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