• Sweden edition
 
Expert: build Nordic union 'if the euro falls'

Expert: build Nordic union 'if the euro falls'

Published: 25 Oct 2011 15:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Oct 2011 15:08 GMT+02:00

Wetterberg argued in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily on Tuesday that a federal Nordic state would enable Scandinavian countries to be more resilient in the face of global financial storms.

"A united Nordic state would be far stronger in the face of the outside world than the five countries individually, while an increasingly common domestic market would provide significantly better growth than today," Wetterberg argued.

He continued to call on leaders to "enhance emergency preparedness by exploring the conditions for joining together", bemoaning that the possibility is barely considered to exist.

Wetterberg, who is a prominent social commentator and historian, first raised the prospect of a union two years ago when he presented a proposal for a new Kalmar Union, referring to the historical term meaning a series of unions between the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1397 to 1523.

While he noted that his call courted comment and praise, he underlined that little has been done in the interim to seriously consider the alternative, despite the ongoing debt crisis afflicting several EU countries and threatening the very existence of the euro.

Wetterberg warned that if the EU moves towards a more federal solution in order to tackle the problems with the single currency, then Scandinavia needs to stand ready.

"Otherwise it will be difficult to maintain openness and free trade with other countries' weakness for protectionism and secrecy," he argued.

A comparison was made with the US, where while maintaining a federal system with significant differences between the states, it is possible for workers to move across the country to account for fluctuations in the economy.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:08 October 25, 2011 by Localer
good suggestion, but please left out Finland and Iceland...
16:15 October 25, 2011 by Tanskalainen
YES,YES,YES,YES,YES, this is what should have been done to begin with! And don't leave out Finland and Iceland.
16:50 October 25, 2011 by Abe L
Yes indeed! Mixing Norway's oil money in the Scandinavian resource mix would be very beneficial!

Perhaps include Germany and Holland, they have stable economies as well.
17:07 October 25, 2011 by hugedingleberry
Leave out the Danes. They smell like elderberries.
18:13 October 25, 2011 by Scansson
Fantastic !!!

Better late with this than never. It will get vote for sure : )
19:09 October 25, 2011 by calebian22
Don't wait for the euro to fail. Now! The fiscal irresponsibility of some Eurozone members will not be an isolated eveent. Even if the euro recovers, the cultural differences and priorities are too diverse within the Zone. A Nordic union just makes more sense regarding history, culture and social norms.
19:59 October 25, 2011 by TRJ
Don't forget the Faroes!
20:37 October 25, 2011 by redfish
Don't forget Poland!
21:30 October 25, 2011 by jvtx3232
Intriguing idea.

But Germany? Holland? Poland? Those aren't Scandinavian countries.

Nothing against them (I'm part German and Dutch myself), but they're not Scandinavian.
21:41 October 25, 2011 by Abe L
@jvtx3232, they have stable profitable economies that aren't on the verge of falling over, hence they could be included to have more size.
21:42 October 25, 2011 by Ivan Juric
How about Swaziland?
22:12 October 25, 2011 by skumdum
Good idea. The Danes should be in charge of the immigration in such a union.
22:40 October 25, 2011 by Svensksmith
What would we call the unit of money...the Nordo?
22:55 October 25, 2011 by skumdum
Why not Scandinavian Kronor or SEK for short.
00:16 October 26, 2011 by zircon
It makes no point to exit the EU/ Eurozone and copy this idea elsewhere. Especially when you say that's a bad thing.
02:17 October 26, 2011 by omash kavash
the thing is guyz are talkin like 2 year old kids immigration to danes woo no iceland no finland woo bullshit even sweden went through wars n recesion u found better things layed our by grand fathers n fathers be thankfull to god and let the experts do the talkin
02:59 October 26, 2011 by Shawntooth
all 4 countries are of small economy models (based on IE), so to speak, heavily export oriented.......the point of forming EU is to provide a large and unified market that provides convenience for bilateral trading......i don't reallly see how a nodic union is gonna give a strong "external demand" for any individual nation.....utilizing the same currency is gonna make the monetary and fisical policies a huge bummer, if we analyze what happened in 2008-2009, the crisis had completely different impact on norway, sweden and denmark, when sweden needed its currency to depreciate the counter the slumping global demand on industrial products, yet norway was an oil based economy, pretty much stress free since they possess the black gold.....well there's so much more........
03:15 October 26, 2011 by StuartM
There's still the same problem of different countries having to follow the same interest rates. Norway's economy is quite different to Sweden's for example so I'm not sure it would benefit either country. A political, social or military union as an alternative to the EU or NATO would on the other hand probably be a good thing but it would need to be based on very different principles to the neoliberal ones which the EU is so closely wedded to.
05:13 October 26, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Terrible idea. Why supplant one failing union with another? I always hear talk about the advantages of a union of states, but what are they? The only advantage I can see is in the realm of military power. And that just seems like a moot reason to form a union. I see lots of disadvantages. Starting with less accountable government and differing regional levels of productivity requiring ever more massive redistributions of income.

If you have open trade and borders already what is to be gained? Mass internal immigration from low productive areas to high productive areas as has occurred in the US over the past few centuries. What you are left with is a homogenized society with prosperous booming areas and forgotten, blighted areas. OK maybe that happens everywhere to some extent (look at England), but it will be magnified and the distinct character of any one part of Scandinavia will become less so over time.

These unions just seem to be the wet dreams of political operators with delusions of grandeur. Political office holders who fantasize about having ever greater political power. All measuring who is longer on the world stage.

What do we get as citizens? Less accountability from our leaders. Less freedom. More arbitrary blanket rules for you to live under to please some distant politician's far off constituency that you've never even heard of.

Horrible idea. There is no good case for it. I would like to see a delineated list of compelling reasons for a union if anyone has one. And I did say compelling.
06:56 October 26, 2011 by Douglas Garner
I'm with you, Marc. There is really little to gain. It would also require a great deal of political time and real money to set up and then coordinate new regulations that would certainly follow.
08:17 October 26, 2011 by rise
I too agree with the Texan guy.

The only thing the Nordic countries have in common is that they've constantly made war with each other. Denmark has always made war with Sweden (Norway was (already) under the Danish crown and Finland belonged to Sweden for approximately 650 years).
09:26 October 26, 2011 by London_Jim
Unfortunately, history has shown that what starts as an economic bloc is eventually turned into more by avaricious politicians jumping on a gravy train of over-paid salaries.

Leave what is as what is - an informal conglomeration of countries that are naturally inclined towards each other.
09:28 October 26, 2011 by ehune
@rise: "constantly made war"? If you have a look in your history book, when do you find the latest war between Scandinavian countries? How much time has passed since Sweden was at war with any country?

@D. Garner: I completely agree about the political time and real money it would take, and to be honest I hope for stronger peaceful ties between all the countries on the planet in the long run. I also think in many ways that the ties between the Nordic countries

@Marc: Where do you find those low productive areas in Scandinavia which people would move away from?,Why wouldn't the people who live there move within their country to make a homogenous demography within the country without a union? If you know anything about Swedish history, you might remember that this kind of movement was already happening for quite a while before the EU or similar projects were even thought of, although then being called urbanization - and why shouldn't people be able to move to where the jobs are? Even before the EU, there were people commuting between Nordic countries, living in one country and working in the other - during the rise of the EU (in combination with other factors) this has certainly increased (for example with the Copenhagen-Malmö bridge), and even without the EU the Nordic countries still have a separate union for countries around the Baltic Sea...

Examples of what we get as citizens:

- The possibility to move freely across borders, without visa requirements and extra hassle

- A single currency gives more financial gains to citizens (as well as companies), since we don't have to abide by extortionate bank fees and exchange rates every we time travel or move across countries.

- Job search on the same terms as local citizens, being able to find the jobs, and in return companies have an easier time finding specialists within advanced areas. This will however never be a big subject, since every country has their own language, and most companies prefer working in the local language (something which is untrue only for Britain/Ireland, but at least Britain has research showing great benefits of working immigrants)

As a Swedish person now living in my fourth European country, I certainly enjoy the advantages of the EU - not saying there's nothing wrong with it, but certainly worth saving the good parts. Of course there were mistakes made with the Euro (including letting some countries enter the common currency without really being ready for it), but if we can sail away from that, the union is certainly worth saving...
11:01 October 26, 2011 by Streja
The reason why Norway, Sweden and denmark all have kronor or kroner is that they started a monetary union in the lte 19th century. Atleast that was the plan.
12:36 October 26, 2011 by Marc the Texan
@ehune

A union by definition allows people in another country to impose their political will on the people of your country. Not specifically for their country or your country but for the good of the union. Is that good enough reason for people to discard their national sovereignty? It is, if you favor a superstate rather than a nation state. Not necessarily wrong either way, just depends on the world you want to live in.

Why is a union necessary for free travel between countries without a visa? It's not. Lots of countries agree to open borders without being involved in a union.

Why is a union necessary for a liberal labor policy where immigrants are permitted to work? It's not. Open labor policies in countries do not require a union.

A single currency is where the biggest problem lies unless you want to give up sovereignty to a superstate. After less than 2 decades of the EMU, Germany's unit labor productivity has increased 30-40% more than Italy's. That is a huge imbalance between core EMU members. The problem can only be resolved with much tighter integration, austerity, wealth transfers and loss of sovereignty all for the sake of a ridiculous currency project. That means people in one country imposing political will on people in another country. This just forces nations to live under the tyranny of one another. Italians don't want to live as Germans and Norwegians don't want to live as Swedes. There are a million tiny things that are important in one country but not another and vice versa. But if you are going to live in a union, especially a monetary union, people from another country will be entitled to tell you how to live for the sake of the union.

All your and everyone elses' savings in currency transactions have already been surpassed with the bailout of Dexia alone. Don't bother mentioning Ireland, Greece, Iceland or what is to come. Any gains from the single currency have already been spent on bailing out European banks. How much of that money could have been spent on people rather than propping up a doomed currency scheme. The EMU has proven to be nothing more than ego-maniacal vanity project. If forex fees were the key reason for a single currency, it would be much easier to legislate lower transaction fees at a national level. Most transfers are electronic and the actual transaction costs are a tiny marginal amount.

Every country has low productivity areas in relation to others. The differences between high and low areas generally grows between nations with different norms, culture, laws, resources, etc. It's why a country like Romania is filled with ghost villages and London is filled with two bedroom, one bathroom flats that house 8 working adults. Economically there is a greater efficiency and productivity going on here, but there are also many things wrong with it. What do we give up for high velocity economic progress? The issue goes beyond pure economics, in my opinion.
15:30 October 26, 2011 by matona1
very nice i dea but if we can include IRAQ,GHNA AND CHINA it will be very very intresting
16:09 October 26, 2011 by rise
@ ehune

If the Nordic countries counts as about thousand years old (Denmark should be the slightly oldesr of them) they have made war 800 of them. So, 80% of the countries life spans they've been at war with each other. :P
16:51 October 26, 2011 by burito
Nordic Union-very good idea,I give my vote for it!..
21:52 October 26, 2011 by Tanskalainen
All this gloom and doom! The fact is these countries have more in common than not. To people outside of Scandinavia these countries appear very much the same and that is how Scandinavians need to see themselves. Norway has oil and Sweden doesn't, so the hell what? The fact is as a unit they would be stronger as a whole. Stalin would not have stolen Finnish territory if Scandinavia had been a whole unit. The Germans would not have stolen Slesvig-Holstien for the same reason. Both these territories are still occupied. If there is a graphic example for the need for Scandinavian unity these examples should be it. Any stupid questions?
21:57 October 26, 2011 by skatty
I think Norway alone can build a union by itself without any other Scandinavian country (at least, as far as it has oil! after the end of the oil they live on fish, I mean to eat fish).
22:52 October 26, 2011 by rise
@ Tanskalainen

"To people outside of Scandinavia these countries appear very much the same and that is how Scandinavians need to see themselves."

That's the problem; you're seeing "Scandinavia" (just like in inte seeing "Africa" instead of Mozambique, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and so on). How Scandinavians should look upon themselves are not for you to decide.
18:09 October 28, 2011 by james_g
Is it normal for a Texan to come up with such unadulterated reasoned common sense? Marc - respect, old chap! (for real!) :)
18:51 October 28, 2011 by eovti
How would the Norwegians profit from such a union? Except for 'sharing' the oil savings (current value: 3000 billion Norwegian Kroner) with the rest of the Northern countries? Would we get shares in Finlands doomed Nokia, would Sweden share their great educational system with us? Sorry, people, you are all good neighbors, but Norway is preparing for The Big Collapse of the world economy, and we can't afford to pay for you guys.
06:31 November 1, 2011 by shahislam
Infoseeker, I am so encouraged by your past positive comment that's making me to post the following here and in your honour:

Only thing may help the US-now and the ensuing new world's healthy politics is: to make sure through new laws-passed right now in the US and then, in the New UN, so that no business leader {such as small and big weapon factory, Stock market, Oil-field owner etc. who have something to gain from economic and political unrest; (e.g. just think about this fact: how does billions of $$$$$$$$ US money went into personal pockets of Donald Trump or Bill gates Warren Buffet or countless too tall CEOs as bonus packages or Emirs of Middle East or shorter Chinese, Indian, Saudi businessmen etc.?

How great it would be to see now an simple international law is being passed, against any too rich Guy to inflict pains and miseries to hard working Middle Class Guys.

That new law shall apply to everyone, regardless it be a businessman or a king anywhere in the world, US$ One million only annually can be kept from net income for each member individually of a wealthy family earning more than US$ 1 million or US$ 1 billion, rest will be taken by an honest UN power for the benefit of equal wealth distribution among global public and the accounting will be so transparently visible in the yet to be built: UN's Website in a "No National or International secret" -style; that any member of the global public will have unrestricted access for own awareness of what's going on with the Earth's resources) can participate in the Now-homeland and next year's International politics of the electronically manageable smaller: One world with endless possibilities of developments.

A properly active human mind is smarter than the dumb space with big stars we can see in the night sky, because star can't see or understand a human mind.

It is the smallness of human minds that unhealthily gets worried about things when 50 billion world population will have no food on earth, world is becoming too hot or cold etc..

We get solar energy for free from an unknown source of the Cosmic Creator and it is kept or radiated only as much as is necessary; and nothing else comes or goes out of this planet: the Earth and there will never ever be any shortage of forever recycling minerals, atomic particles, energies: fossil or other fuel types or bio fats for human consumption etc..

However, when it comes to the politics and money issue of the every-day's modern humanitarian happy life, we -the wise ones selflessly just need to start the redistribution and balancing process as soon as possible.

The money oriented knowledge, currently recognized by the 'Century old Certifications of Scientists or Economists etc.' are too weak to solve the problems of present disorders or to discover enough "wisdom of religion-less Omni-powerful's play" where the main key of evolved Mankind's general happiness and comfort is still hidden.
18:23 September 14, 2012 by JonnyDee
The Nordic Economic Union would dominate and would have all teh resources to be self-sufficient. This would be great news for Scandinavia and would (hopefully) rub off on the rest of the world.
Today's headlines
Cops arrest 17 people for gang murder
Police at the scene. Photo: Niklas Luks/TT

Cops arrest 17 people for gang murder

Seventeen people were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday after a man was shot to death in central Sweden. Several of them were already known to the police for gang crimes. READ  

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

729
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se