Secretary-General of EDU meets Secretary-General of Nordic Council of Ministers

H.E. Irving Levance, the Secretary-General of EDU met with his opposite number at the Nordic Council of Ministers, H.E. Halldór Ásgrímsson.

Official website: Nordic Council of Ministers

The two statesmen enjoyed a lively and good natured exchange, discussing varied topics including the challenges faced by cross-border education, the importance of sport in education, gender equality, the current world financial crisis, diplomatic protocols and conventions, the unique nature of cooperation between the Nordic countries, cross-cultural dialogue and even pan-European humour.H.E. Irving Levance, the Secretary-General of EDU with his opposite number at the Nordic Council of Ministers, H.E. Halldór Ásgrímsson.

Mr. Ásgrímsson, the former Prime Minister of Iceland, has headed the Nordic Council of Ministers since 2006 and has an impressive political and diplomatic pedigree which shone through during the meeting.

Prior to his term as the Prime Minister, Halldór Ásgrímsson had served Iceland as Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Defence and Foreign Aid, Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Minister for Fisheries and Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

A graduate of the Co-operative College of Iceland, he is also a Chartered Accountant and he completed his Graduate studies at the Bergen and Copenhagen Universities of Commerce. He was a Lecturer at the University of Iceland in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

A well known and popular figure in international diplomacy, Mr. Ásgrímsson has vast experience gained on the world stage in such appointments as Chairman of the Arctic Council, Chairman of the EFTA Council, Chairman of the EEA Council, Chairman of the European Council's Ministerial Committee and Member of the World Bank's Finance Committee.

As a former Chairman of the exam committee for Chartered Accountants in Iceland he understood the importance of credible cross-border accreditation systems and offered insightful opinions on how this is best achieved.

Cross-Border Cooperation

As the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, which is described as “the official inter-governmental body”, H.E. Halldór Ásgrímsson has a unique perspective on the importance of cross-border cooperation. Despite its generic name the Nordic Council of Ministers consists, in fact, of several councils of ministers (MR). Most of the Nordic ministers for specific policy areas meet in the council of ministers between one and five times a year.

They are:

Nordic Council of Ministers for Labour (MR-A)

Nordic Council of Ministers for Business, Energy & Regional Policy (MR-NER)

Council of Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS)

Council of Ministers for Gender Equality (MR-JÄM)

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture (MR-K)

Nordic Council of Ministers for Legislative Affairs (MR-LAG)

Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment (MR-M)

Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs (MR-S)

Nordic Council of Ministers for Education and Research (MR-U)

Council of Ministers for Finance (MR-FINANS)

 

 

H.E. Halldór Ásgrímsson interviewed about the future of Baltic-Nordic cooperation

 

 

 

The Nordic Council consists of 87 representatives, elected from its members' parliaments and reflecting the relative representation of the political parties in those parliaments. Each of the national delegations has its own secretariat in the national parliament. The autonomous territories – Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland – also have Nordic secretariats.

The two Secretaries-General expressed their admiration for each other’s work and each wished the other continued success at the head of their respective intergovernmental organizations.

 

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