3.1. A competitive Nordic Region
3.1.1. Unified Nordic Legislation and Nordic benefit
The work in the justice sector to promote unified legislation and Nordic benefit seeks to maintain freedom of movement and counteract and avoid barriers as a result of differences in national legislation. This work falls under objective 7 in the action plan for Our Vision 2030.
The Helsinki Treaty strives for the mutual co-ordination of justice affairs. However, this does not necessarily mean that the Nordic countries must have identical legislation. The unified Nordic legislation also involves working toward a joint legal structure and joint principles for legislation. The need for, scope and nature of co-operation on justice affairs varies in different areas of the law.
Regarding legal co-operation, the Helsinki Treaty contains the following articles:
The High Contracting Parties shall continue their co-operation in the field of law with the aim of attaining the greatest possible uniformity in the field of private law.
The High Contracting Parties should seek to establish uniform rules relating to criminal offences and the penalties for such offences.
With regard to criminal offences committed in one of the Nordic countries, it shall, as far as circumstances allow, be possible to investigate and prosecute the offence in another Nordic country.
It is a key objective of the co-operation on legislative affairs that the content and structure of legislation and other regulations are accessible to people and that people and companies enjoy freedom of movement throughout the Nordic Region without unnecessary cross-border obstacles. It is a national responsibility to ensure, to as high a degree as possible, that new legislation does not impose new barriers to cross-border mobility. In order to avoid such barriers, a unified approach is particularly desirable when implementing, e.g. EU/EEA law and other international obligations.
Where relevant during preparatory work on new legislation, the countries ought, therefore, to obtain information about similar legislation in the other Nordic countries. In order to contribute to the sum of knowledge about Nordic legislation, which is a prerequisite for a unified system, proposed legislation should, where relevant, also contain an account of similar legislation in the other Nordic countries.