Gratschew comes from a position in Vienna in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as an advisor to the Polish chairmanship of OSCE in 2022 through Sweden’s delegation. In that capacity, Gratschew works with the Polish chairmanship of OSCE in relation to Central Asia, in negotiations in connection with OSCE field operations, and to provide advice related to the OSCE military policy Dimension. This has given her experiences that she will be able to leverage in her future role, which she is looking forward to:
“After many years working internationally, I finally have the opportunity to devote my complete focus to this particular region, which is also my home. I bring experiences from different parts of the world and different organisations, which I believe can help build long-term and relevant partnerships between Estonia and the Nordic countries. On a personal level, I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of Estonia’s wonderful textile and wood crafts. With my mother from Finland, father from Denmark, and a grandfather from Karelia, the development of this region has a big place in my heart,” says Gratschew.
30 years of Nordic-Baltic co-operation
The Nordic Council of Ministers has worked in co-operation with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania since the early 1990s and has offices in all three countries. In Estonia, the Nordic Council of Ministers has offices in Narva, Tartu, and Tallinn, where the head office is located and where Maria will be at the forefront of current and new initiatives that will contribute to a democratic and robust Baltic Sea area. Such initiatives include:
- education, research, and innovation
- business, clusters, and the creative industries
- environment, climate, and energy
- international challenges faced by welfare societies
- gender equality, freedom of expression, and tolerance
International experience and strong collaboration skills
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Estonian office manages projects and programmes that evolve and change in line with the times and current events in the region. So the need for a director with a steady hand on the wheel, international experience, and good collaboration skills is a priority for Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Karen Ellemann, who warmly welcomes Maria:
“I’m very happy that we’ve been able to attract Maria to head up our office in Estonia. Maria has a wealth of experience from her international work and is very familiar with the issues we’re working with in the Baltic countries. I give Maria the warmest of welcomes and look forward to getting to know her even better,” says Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Maria has a five-year contract with the option of a three-year extension. She will take up the role on 2 August 2023, succeeding Christer Haglund who is stepping down after eight years in the role.