Towards Resilient Nordic welfare states

Launch of Nordic ESPAnet

The conference was a kick-off for a Nordic welfare research network called Nordic ESPAnet. Globalisation is both a challenge and a chance for the Nordic welfare states. Almost all internationally available indicators of citizens’ welfare, economic sustainability, politico-administrative performance and social cohesion exemplify the success of the Nordic countries so far, e.g. in terms of human wellbeing, equality, low poverty, life satisfaction, stability, safety and security, trust, personal and press freedom, the rule of law and reliability of elections and governance. However, Nordic welfare state is not static; the existing institutions have to be constantly recalibrated in order to tackle the wicked problems of current time. The Nordic welfare states should thus have good prerequisites for finding sustainable solutions. That said, polarization, rising inequalities, populism are threats to political participation and democracy also in the Nordic countries. Furthermore, the consistency of the Nordic welfare model can be easily questioned. The Nordic countries have chosen different pathways when it comes to European Union, EMU, NATO or confronting the last financial crises. Indeed, the Nordic welfare states historically developed differently. This conference aims at shedding light in the challenges and opportunities of the Nordic welfare states in the broader European and global context.