The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers is a cooperation forum for the governments of the Nordic countries. It was established following World War II and its first concrete results was the introduction in 1952 of a common labor market, social security, and free movement across borders without passports for the countries' citizens.

The Nordic Council has offices in Copenhagen and various installations in each separate country. The council does not have any formal power on its own, but each government has to implement any decisions through its country's legislative assembly (parliament). With Denmark, Norway, and Iceland being members of NATO, Sweden being neutral, and Finland having had cooperation treaties with then Soviet Union, the Nordic Council has not been involved any military cooperation.

The Nordic Council uses Swedish, Danish and Norwegian as its working languages.

In the 1960s there were plans to develop the Nordic cooperation into an organisation similar to the European Economic Community. A treaty was negotiated to establish a new organisation, NordEk headquartered in Malmö. Though ultimately it was the case that Finland did not dare to ratify the treaty due to its special relationship to the Soviet Union. Without Finland the idea was defunct, and Norway and Denmark chose to apply for membership in the EEC. Denmark became a member of the EEC in 1973, but Norway rejected accession in the same year, in a referendum. Sweden did not apply due to its non alliance policy, which was aimed at preserving neutrality.

See also: Scandinavian defence union

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