2. Introduction

2.1. General information about the co-operation in the justice sector

The co-operation is based on the principles laid down in the Helsinki Treaty and the prime ministers’ vision for the Nordic co-operation.
The co-operation on justice affairs prioritises cases in which Nordic benefit can be achieved. This means that it is emphasised whether joint or similar Nordic activities and solutions, for example in research, would achieve better results than would be possible at national level. It also means emphasising the strengthening of Nordic competencies, and improving contacts and relations between the Nordic countries.
The co-operation pays particular attention to the fundamental prerequisites for maintaining democracy, trust and solidarity in the Nordic Region.
Crime knows no boundaries, both in the physical and digital worlds. Cross-border crime is a challenge for all of the Nordic countries. Closer co-operation between Nordic police forces to prevent and combat cross-border crime is a priority for the co-operation in the justice sector.
Radicalisation and violent extremism are also challenges shared by all of the Nordic countries and which can pose a threat to democracy and social cohesion in the Nordic Region. The countries work together in the justice sector to develop knowledge that will help prevent and combat these phenomena.
Digitalisation can make public administration and the courts more accessible and efficient. This transformation was brought to the fore by the restrictions introduced by the Nordic countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The digitalisation of the public sector does, however, present challenges that affect the legal rights of individuals and companies. This is an area in which knowledge sharing between the Nordic countries and looking outward to places like the Baltic countries are of considerable importance and value.
Differences in the individual Nordic countries’ legislation that affect families and businesses affect freedom of movement within the Nordic Region. The work done to promote unified legislation in the Nordic region plays a crucial role in breaking down obstacles to cross-border freedom of movement, e.g. when implementing EU/EEA legislation in the Nordic countries.
Co-operation on justice affairs also helps to strengthen the work to tackle discrimination and protect fundamental rights, including equality between men and women and the rights of children and young people, disabled people and the LGBTQI+ community.

2.2. Areas of co-operation

Co-operation in the justice sector covers areas that in most Nordic countries fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice.
These include public law, for example criminal law, procedural law, the judiciary, prevention of crime and terrorism, victim protection, police co-operation, asylum, immigration, discrimination, fundamental and human rights. Other areas within public law such as administrative law, freedom of information and legislation concerning protection of personal data are included in the co-operation.
The co-operation in the justice sector also covers areas within private law, such as family law, property and contract law and consumer law.

2.3. Period covered by the programme

This co-operation programme was first adopted by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Justice Affairs (MR-JUST) on 10 January 2019 to cover the period 2019–2022. It has now been extended to cover the period 2023–2024. After 2024, the programme will be based on the action plan for Our Vision 2030 that will apply at that point.
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