Mutual learning for a brighter future: China, Norway inspiring change
Updated 11:04, 16-Aug-2023
Reality Check

Editor's note: Common prosperity, human development, mutual learning between China and other countries, etc., have become general topics. CGTN has interviewed Signe Brudeset, the Norwegian Ambassador to China, exploring how China, Norway and other Nordic countries can learn from each other's experience for a better development. The views expressed in the video are her own and not necessarily those of CGTN.

CGTN: Can you give us a quick overview of the Nordic model of governance and how it has improved the lives of the people in Nordic countries, including in Norway?

Signe Brudeset: People normally think about [the Nordic model] as how we in the Nordic countries do economic policy, welfare policy, and also, for example, family policy. Also increasingly now we focus very much on green transition and sustainability. Some of the topics which I think is also of interest to Chinese audience, is of course the family policies that are common in the Nordic countries.

For example, our focus on gender equality, our focus on kindergartens, on elderly care, how we organize our societies to make sure that, as large as possible, part of our population can take part in working life.

I know that in China, it is very relevant for many younger people [on] how to organize your life, especially when you think about having children and continuing to participate in the working life, the fact that you would like to have kindergartens. You would like to have reasonably priced housing. You would like to see how you can organize your family life in a way that makes sure that you have a good work and life balance.

On these issues, I think there are areas where the Nordic countries, and, speaking from the Norwegian side, China, not copy each other, but where we can be inspired of the different policies that we have in our countries.

CGTN: What are your observations on how China is pursuing its policy of common prosperity and how can China and Norway and other Nordic countries learn from each other's experience?

Signe Brudeset: I'm very much aware that China is now having a focus on what they call the common prosperity. I do think that when it comes to ensuring to reduce inequality in the society, there could be areas also where the Nordic and China have some policies that it could be interesting to study from each other. From a Norwegian point of view, we have had some very good conversations with Chinese experts on the pension reform. We also talk to China about green financing. And historically, we have had a long exchange with China when it comes to how to use resources from the energy sector.

CGTN: One of the major concerns in a huge populous country, like China, is its ageing population. How has Norway dealt with the issue of ageing population, and policies related to working age and pensions?

Signe Brudeset: In the Nordic countries, specifically in Norway, for us, we look at the labor force as maybe our greatest resource. That means that the longer people stay active in working life, the more they can also contribute into working life and thereby also into the tax base.

In Norway, the general pension age is 67 years. You could in certain sectors also stay on until you are 70 years. I know that in China, the pension age is lower and also the complexities of the systems are something different. But in our perspective, it has been important to have a fairly high pension age to make sure that our people participate in labor life as long as possible.

CGTN: Given the challenges of globalization and rising inequality, how can the Nordic model address socioeconomic disparities and promote social cohesion?

Signe Brudeset: As I say, I don't think it's possible to copy policies from other countries, but it is possible to be inspired from it. Some of the basics in the Nordic model is that we have a high degree of transparency in every policy that is developed. We also have extensive peer review on the policies that are developed. And we have a high level of trust in society, both trust in our institutions and trust in society as a whole. This also helps to bring down the transaction costs and bring the productivity up.

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