The one with the Nordic model


– The one with the Nordic model –

16:32 . I don’t think Bernie Sanders wants to literally move to Denmark, but he would like to export its model, as he should! I truly believe that it is this kind of society that benefits most people: a society with a high level of welfare and social redistribution – a society that acknowledges the necessity of creating balance between individuals.

Michael is a policy adviser on the strategy ‘European Social Democratic vision of the Sustainable Development Goals’ for the socialists&democrats group, at the European Parliament. He comes from Denmark.

– Many aspects of the Nordic model are in fact not that exceptional – that is why I get surprised when I hear people in Brussels talk about a Nordic or Scandinavian exceptionalism. The nuance is that the welfare state is something that is only accessible if built through social forces and through a matter of common political will. The welfare state cannot simply be given to us, it is something that we must continuously fight for – and something that we must understand well. If you look at the example of Macron in France: all right he is a social liberal and praises the Danish model, but what he wants to do is to take the flexicurity* with the ‘flexibility’ but not the ‘security’ part. The model does not work without the security part! The security part is very fundamental for building a well-functioning society, because the idea behind the Nordic model is that when it comes to the job market – you can only be a winner in it; for example, it may be true that you can get fired but you get social benefits when you do. Some liberals have this tendency of saying ‘ok globalization is inevitable, some people will be left behind and that is just how it is’. No, as a socialist what I believe in is that politics come first, before the market. People come first, actually. What the Nordic model has proven is that investing in people is the primordial thing to do.

*flexicurity describes the model in Denmark, which combines flexibility in the face of globalisation ie – on the labour market (easy to hire, fire) and security for the individual (high unemployment benefits, education, healthcare – social security. In 2007, the European Council adopted a set of Council conclusions on flexicurity as a guide for other EU member states.


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