Cross-border freedom of movement has been put on hold by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Mutual trust, a rare commodity that has put Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland in a privileged club, is currently in short supply. Nordic troubles suddenly seem to mirror those of other European countries, albeit with somewhat less dramatic features.
瑞典’s Go-It-Alone Approach
At the end of last year, the Swedish government expected the economy to shrink by 2.9% in 2020. However, it has admitted that its labor market performed worse during the initial phase of the COVID emergency when the economy remained open. In fact, among the Nordics in 2020, only Denmark fared marginally worse than Sweden, Norway and Finland, in part because its restrictions had been tighter.
最近的研究suggest that the impact on the labor market was similar in all Nordic countries, with Sweden only doing marginally better.
Nordic Economies Have Weathered the Storm Better Than Southern Europe
瑞典已经转移了它的立场，最近引入了更严格的强制性措施，包括关闭企业的可能性。卫生部长Lena Hallengren明确说，单独的店铺和购物中心 - 大流行法可能不足以抑制病毒，如果疫苗接种计划正在进行疫苗接种计划。
Notably, the amended pandemic law gives the government power to implement a wide range of measures to curb the spread of the virus, should it become necessary.
进一步展望未来,所有的北欧国家,the exception of Norway, are well-placed to manage the transition to a green and digital economy and are already at the forefront of those efforts.
The commission’s findings were published in mid-December and spared no one. Government, public health agencies, regions and municipalities all came under fire. The conclusion of the report: Sweden utterly failed to protect its elderly. The country became a cautionary tale in the fight against the virus.
Since then, travel restrictions were imposed, not only for non-EU travelers, such as U.K. citizens, but also for neighboring Danes and Norwegians. Sweden’s death toll since then has surpassed the 13,000 mark in a country with a population of 10.23 million. That puts its deaths per capita rate close to that of France, which lost more than 90,000 people to the pandemic. Denmark’s death toll is close to 2,400, with a noticeably lower death per capita ratio than its bigger neighbor to the north.
Politically, mutual trust is in need of repair, given the fragmented response and less than ideal coordination between countries. The notion of coherent sub-blocs within the European Union acting in a coordinated manner — in this case, with some outsiders, namely Norway and Iceland — needs to be looked at.
Also, the notion that Nordic citizens, particularly Swedes, would behave more responsibly than others was hit badly by the crisis, forcing governments to abandon “guidance” and enforce similarly strict measures.
Firstly, the hit taken was far smaller than in the rest of Europe. Last summer, all Nordic economies bounced back strongly: There is no reason to believe that this time it will be different.
Looking further ahead, all countries, with the exception, perhaps, of Norway because of its dependency on fossil fuel extraction, are well-placed to manage the transition to a green and digital economy and are already at the forefront of those efforts.
For European political dynamics, the question now is how quickly and far will Nordics race ahead of the rest of Europe? For a continent in need of convergence rather than further divergence, the answer is relevant.