NFU Celebrated 100 Years with an Anniversary Conference
At the end of June, NFU arranged an Anniversary Conference to celebrate 100 years. Surrounded by stunning nature, this significant milestone took place at the beautiful Majvik Congress in Finland. The atmosphere was bubbly and cheerful, and with the slogan: ”Proud past, shaping the future”, you could feel the pride and hopefulness for the future in the air. The Conference had the themes of future skills, AI, and Nordic cooperation, and NFU also introduced a book exclusively written for this occasion.
The Conference started with Rauni Söderlund from Trade Union Pro holding some introductory remarks about NFU´s history. Following that, Michael Budolfsen, President of NFU, opened the Conference with a celebration speech where he, with warmth and sincerity, expressed his gratitude towards the entire NFU family. Budolfsen stated in his speech that:
One thing has remained constant—the DNA that has shaped NFU from its inception. a DNA of cooperation, creativity, dialogue, and inclusion, as well as a strong commitment and belief that we can go further together than each of us can go individually.
The first part of the conference had the theme of the future. Perttu Pölönen, Author and futurist, was invited to talk about how we can shape our future by learning from the past. In his speech, he asked how humanity will look like in 20 years and proposed that the next revolution will be human. To counter-weight the world we digitalised, he expressed that we need to develop creativity, perseverance, compassion, and curiosity – the same soft skills that set us apart from machines.
During the second part of the Conference, Johan Strang, an Associate Professor at Helsinki University, delivered a talk on Democracy and the role of civil society in Nordic cooperation. He emphasised that the distinctive qualities of Nordic cooperation are found in everyday practices. Nordic cooperation is recognised for its informal nature and popularity among unofficial actors. In his speech, he also noted that while the Scandinavian language is significant, it can also be exclusive. Consequently, he addressed that we should adopt a more liberal approach towards using English in Nordic cooperation.
The grand final of the first day was the release of the NFU book ”Proud Past, Shaping the Future – 100 Years of Nordic Cooperation”, exclusively written for the occasion. General Secretary Carin Hallerström interviewed the book’s author Christer Isaksson, who provided valuable insights into the book’s content. Christer Isaksson expressed that the history of NFU:
It is a story about Nordic cooperation, about friendship, about fighting for changing conditions in the labour market – both in the short and long perspective, it is a story about power – the bank employees sought power to rule over their own destiny, and it is a story about a devoted man – Viktor von Zeipel – and how he inspired others to fight for better conditions at work and private lives.
The first day ended with a joint celebration dinner and party with all the participants.
The second day kicked off with an EU Briefing, a conversation between Sirpa Pietikäinen, a member of the European Parliament and Michael Budolfsen, NFU President. Primarily, the Sustainable Finance Agenda and EU taxonomy rules were discussed, but Budolfsen also highlighted another crucial takeaway:
The rise of the Far-right movement in Europe is a grave threat – we, therefore, need to emphasise the value of democracy and give strong signals to the Commission that this is not the time to cut back on dialogue.
Following the EU briefing, NFU had invited Director Lars Christian Ohnemus and Professor Marc Steffen Rapp from Copenhagen Business School to speak about Nordic Finance and the Good Society. They talked primarily about new potential financial risks like digital currencies, Anti-money laundering and the outsourcing of monetary policies.
The third section of the day covered current trends in Finance from the employment perspective. First, Morten Clausen and Anna-Delia Papenberg from the NFU secretariat presented their views on the latest trends in crypto and cyber security and Artificial intelligence. Afterwards, member union representatives engaged in a panel discussion where AI was the focal point of discussion.
The last subject was about Trade Union´s role in shaping society. First, Magnus Gissler, General Secretary at NFS, shared his perspective on how to be a strong Nordic voice in Europe. Following his speech, a panel discussion was held with representatives from the member unions, where they discussed both the current state of Nordic cooperation and potential opportunities and challenges that finance unions may encounter in the future.