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From cross-border barriers to simplification and market opportunities

  • Published 16/08/2007
  • Last updated 18/01/2012
The removal of cross-border barriers, thus creating a highly functioning internal Nordic market, has always been high on the Nordic agenda. The Nordic region should be a region without borders, where there are no cross-border barriers that limit the free movement of expertise, ideas, capital, people and goods.

Despite a great deal of work to remove barriers, citizens and businesses in the Nordic countries still come up against a large number of barriers when they try to establish businesses, invest, trade goods or services and so on. Even if old obstacles are removed, new ones are constantly emerging when Nordic countries implement EU regulations differently or pass new national rules.


This report mainly focuses on the work to remove obstacles that hinder free movement of innovation resources for cross-border trade, including obstacles to establishing businesses, export of goods and services, flow of capital etc.


The following overall strategy could form the basis for facing the challenges ahead and for creating the best possible and most efficient internal Nordic market for Nordic industry:


  • The efforts towards creating an well-functioning Nordic internal market should have three focal points:
    1. Remove existing barriers
    2. Avoid new barriers materialising
    3. Stimulate increased cross-border competition
  • Focus needs to shift from “cross-border barriers” to “market opportunities”
  • To ensure high political priority for the efforts to create a well-functioning Nordic market, the gains to be made from promoting a freer market and similarly the cost of existing obstacles should be calculated
  • It is important to point out concrete results – “success stories” – which can contribute to necessary support and understanding for the efforts to create an efficient internal Nordic market among the authorities, businesses and other players
  • To achieve real simplification for Nordic industry some major legal obstacles must be tackled, which requires legislative changes, such as taxation and company law. This can be done in stages or by starting with particular areas or decisions which can be phased into more complex processes over time
  • The Nordic countries need to have a strong joint involvement in the early phases of the EU’s regulatory processes to be able to influence outcomes and contribute to satisfactory solutions. The countries in the Baltic Sea region should also be included in these efforts.


English version:

From cross-border barriers to market opportunities (pdf-file)


Norwegian version:

Fra grensehindre og problemer til forenkling og markedsmuligheter (pdf-file)


Finnish version:

Esteistä ja ongelmista yksinkertaistamiseen ja markkinamahdollisuuksiin (pdf-file)