Formed in 1952, the Nordic Council is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary Nordic cooperation among the Nordic countries: it has 87 representatives (all members of parliament in their respective countries or areas and are elected by those parliaments) from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as from the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. Ordinary sessions are held each year in October/November, plus one extra Spring session per year with a specific theme. The Nordic Council has no formal power on its own, but each government has to implement any NC decision through its national legislature. The council’s official languages are Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish, but as its working languages only the mutually intelligible Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish) are adopted, which represent the first language of around 80% of the region’s population and are also learned as a second or foreign language by the remaining 20%. The “original” Nordic Council works on inter-parliamentary cooperation, whereas the ‘Nordic Council of Ministers’, founded in 1971, is responsible for inter-governmental cooperation.
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