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Swedish historian touts Nordic power bloc

TT/The Local · 27 Oct 2009, 08:54

Published: 27 Oct 2009 08:54 GMT+01:00

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A union between the five Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland – would give them a seat at big international gatherings, writes social scientist, historian, and author Gunnar Wetterberg in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

In proposing the creation of a Nordic 'bloc of ice', Wetterberg suggests that Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II would be the union’s obvious leader, drawing parallels between the Kalmar Union, which united Sweden, Denmark, and Norway from 1397 to 1523 and was governed by the Danish Queen Margareta.

Wetterberg describes several areas which would give a Nordic federal state significant international influence.

Together, the five countries would be the world’s tenth largest economy – larger than Russia’s and Brazil’s, and one of the five or six largest economies in the European Union.

“By harmonizing economic legislation, the EU/EEA makes a Nordic union easier, but hardly reduces the need for one,” writes Wetterberg, referring to legislation related to the European Union and the European Economic Area.

With greater influence, the Nordic region could better protect its interests within the EU and find that key positions on the European Commission were more easily within reach, he believes.

However, Wetterberg admits that a unitary Nordic state isn’t realistic “and perhaps not desirable either – each country’s distinctive character has value in and of itself”.

One reason why he suggest Queen Margrethe II lead his proposed Nordic union is the symbolic value of the name.

“If it’s too hard for the others to swallow, the post could rotate between the countries,” writes Wetterberg.

The advantages of unification are so great today that politicians ought to take the idea of a Kalmar Union seriously, he believes.

“With 25 million residents, Nordic culture would have a stronger base than it does now. The market for Nordic literature, theatre, and music should be much larger than today,” Wetterberg writes.

Story continues below…

He admits, however, that language might be a problem.

“One solution would be to have all students learn another Nordic language from the start, in addition to their mother tongue,” he proposes.

He believes that a unified Nordic region is completely realistic, “not least because of Swedish arrogance has subsided in recent decades”.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:58 October 27, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
It is worth a try, but maybe not achievable until 2060, and which "other" Nordic language did he have in mind?
11:15 October 27, 2009 by Kaethar
It would have to be Finnish or Icelandic. Icelandic would be out of the question though but Finnish remains an option (or another Scandinavian dialect for the less linguistically gifted). Finns already learn Swedish in school and Icelanders already learn Danish in schools.
11:17 October 27, 2009 by Hauhr
"However, Wetterberg admits that a unitary Nordic state isn't realistic"

"He believes that a unified Nordic region is completely realistic"

Is it realistic or not?
11:51 October 27, 2009 by misssh
sound like a good idea if you ask me!!
11:59 October 27, 2009 by Balticcrosser
'11:17 October 27, 2009 by Hauhr

"However, Wetterberg admits that a unitary Nordic state isn't realistic"

"He believes that a unified Nordic region is completely realistic"

Is it realistic or not?'

He's apparently saying that a unitary state is not realistic, but a loosely bound federal state would be. So you wouldn't turn the region into a unitary state like France, but into a federation or confederation, perhaps like Switzerland.
12:03 October 27, 2009 by sebseb
Coming from Canada, I know it is a damn bad Idea to create a federation. But maybe a confederation would be a good idea.
12:20 October 27, 2009 by zircon
Why confuse things more?
12:22 October 27, 2009 by Zoolander428
A yes, another layer of government... fantastic idea!
12:48 October 27, 2009 by Texrusso
Well, the Finns will definitely not agree, they still mentally haven't got over the over 500 years of Swedish rule and over 100 years of Russian rule. A mentally which drives the highly xenophobic state of mind in the country that yields the institutionalized racism you see in that country. The Finns are after 700 years are still yet to really understand who they are and always suspicious and cautious of Swedish domination which is also easily seen in ice-hockey, football, Euro-vision or any other international competition/contest against Sweden. The Swedish language have now been phased out as a compulsory language at school in Finland. Even the die hard Racist FINNISH Party called the True FINNS are today pushing forward as part of their racist agenda the erradication of Swedish language completely as the Finland's official second language. I still wonder what will be the fate of the 6% Swedes living in that country as most of them are either frustrated and are relocated back to Sweden slowly. The history of World leaves Finland as the only country in the history of the World that was colonized for more than 500 years. The Roman Empire, the great huns Empire, The Japanese Empire, the Otoman Empire as the list goes, all crumbled within a 100 years as the people revolt and reform. The self will of the Finnish people which they always try to portray with an unconventional guerilla winter war against Russia does not hold. The Finns will be the last to agree or support any such union with too much grip on paranoia and xenophobia.
13:07 October 27, 2009 by ppk
Go for it !

I'm 101% in favor.

But don't forget the Faroe anf Greenland!
13:12 October 27, 2009 by Osokin
Texrusso you better be trolling ...
13:37 October 27, 2009 by "green Swede"
EH,roman empire lasted a thousand years and ireland was occupied by the english for eight hundred years....must be a troll.
14:45 October 27, 2009 by eltechno
C'mon Texrusso. What's with the Finn bashing?

Considering that Finland didn't have enough to eat as recently as the 1950s, had to make actual war reparations to maintain their independence post WW II, and speak a language unlike almost any tongue on earth, I think Finland has done a superb job of post-colonial economic and social development. I just read another of those country comparisons and Finland ranks as the most successful society on earth. You may argue the methodology of these things but they aren't totally ridiculous.


So the Finns are a bit touchy about Swedish colonialism. Does it really keep them from cooperating and trading with their neighbors? Didn't think so.
14:46 October 27, 2009 by Greg in Canada
This is long over due. Scandinavia is part of Europe but is unique to itself. The question is can it be made to work successfully.
14:51 October 27, 2009 by Texrusso
@Green Swede: Ireland became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The Free State left the Commonwealth to become a republic in 1949.
15:21 October 27, 2009 by jin.malmo
Since sweden is bigger than the rest of nordic countries, swedish will have a big influence.....
15:29 October 27, 2009 by FIN_E
@ Textrussian, the swedish speaking minority are Finns not Swedes. And what is your problem anyways?
15:40 October 27, 2009 by Beynch
I think this seems like a great idea. Then we can kiss goodbye to the arrogant, corrupt, big-country, bureaucrats in Bruxelles, leave the Schengen agreement, abandon the Euro, and embark on a new and exciting path to prosperity, and restored cultural reference points. May the Vikings, including the Finns, once again be a force one can count on. Let's show the world we can be great again without dictatorial meddling by exterior forces from down below. Let the Nordic countries proudly rule themselves from on top of the world! The North will be the envy of the rest of the pack, and you know it! I'm feeling good already.
15:54 October 27, 2009 by Texrusso
@eltechno: I am not talk about economic development and prosperity, after all Norway has refused to join the EU nor the Euro and So did Sweden refuse to joun the EURO. They all have their reasons. I am just trying to analyse the mindset that of the Finnish Insititution that will not support such move and that is my take. @FIN_E: They are Swedish Speaking Finns and history have it that their ancestors who once colonized Finland are Swedish. These 6% Swedish Speaking FINN although holds Finnish Passport are of Swedish decendants. They are now been marginalized in Finland and most of them are finding safety and comfort by relocating to Sweden. Have a good day ya all.
15:59 October 27, 2009 by jag2009
I would say that if this did happen Sweden would be taking control. Yet then again you never know.
16:28 October 27, 2009 by sarp
it would be high end of unified countries . . .
16:29 October 27, 2009 by lapua338
I doubt Sweden will be taking control of anything. I've lost all respect for Sweden. This nation has no backbone! Swedish justice is a joke, the welfare state is unsustainable, the armed forces couldn't fight themselves out of a wet paper bag and your liberal and politically correct attitudes will eventually destroy you as a nation. It won't be long before you will all be embracing Islamic Sharia law!

We all know that Finland was historically part of Sweden and from 1809 an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire, which led to independence and civil war. At least they had the fortitude and courage to resist the Russians during the Winter War and Continuation War.

Has Sweden actually accomplished anything during the past 100 years?
16:31 October 27, 2009 by FIN_E
@Textrussian, it seems to me like your brain is being colonized by some twisted neo-nazi propaganda.
16:44 October 27, 2009 by efm
No a big state together , but just a loose organization of friends with common interest will work. It will be similar to ASEAN countries which comprise of south east asian countries of different culture but some common grounds.

It include Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others.
17:10 October 27, 2009 by "green Swede"
texrusso,I could write paragraphs on the irrelevancies of the act of union in 1801 and the long history of english occupation of Ireland(in fact I did,but the bloody thing failed to post)but at the end of the day I fail to see what the union or the advent of the Irish republic has to do with the lenght of said occupation or the duration of the roman empire for that matter.I also have a great deal of respect and admiration for the finnish people as a whole.gs
17:19 October 27, 2009 by J.Ravier
Well, the idea sounds good, but in the facts, this project does not really change anything. If you're applying for a personal number in Sweden, you have better chances if you're from a Nordic country because of the several agreements signed between scandinavian states... The problem with the idea of such a confederation is that it sounds like the pan-scandinavian speeches from the late 19th century. Isn't it slightly nationalistic ?

Do anyone remember how the Kalmar Union ended ? I know this was 500 years ago, but it did not lead to a great development of the nations because of the interest struggles...anyways...I doubt this will happen someday.
17:34 October 27, 2009 by vladd777
Speaking-wise, objectively thinking, English is still the best option, to my mind, as most speak and understand 'our own brand' of the language.

Otherwise Norwegian seems to be the easiest to learn and understand.

Anyway I think this is a great idea and wish it would come about.
17:59 October 27, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I used to think that the Nordic countries should have stayed out of the EU while strengthening and developing the Nordic Union in a similar way as the EU - havivng a shared Nordic Crown as currency and an ever-increasing amount of integration and cooperation.

But now I live in Sweden and can see the differences between the countries up close, I think it would be a horrible idea. The idea wouldn't be swallowed for several reasons. One of them would be that Sweden would insist on Denmark implementing a restrictive alcohol policy which the Danes don't want. The fact is that right now Denmark is in a better position to teach Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries that you don't have to live in an extremely restrictive "drug-free" society. This union would make it 100 times more difficult for Denmark to fully legalize cannabis, just as the Netherlands would prefer to fully legalize and regulate cannabis but cannot due to EU law and UN treaties which try to tell the Dutch that the question of whether adults should be allowed to consume cannabis recreationally or not isn't for individual countries to decide, but for all EU countries to decide. All that does is prevent a diversity of governmental models from taking shape so that different countries can view different ways of handling different things.
19:45 October 27, 2009 by coswede
even the flags are f_ggy
23:25 October 27, 2009 by Texrusso
@green Swede: Please leave the great Irish people out of this. Irish people are one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever met. The Irish people are humans of the hieghest level. The true people of humanity!! @FIN_E: Finland supported the Neo Nazi Germany and gave them access to Soviet Union via Finnish Lapland. There is nothing like Neo-Nazi propoganda, its all real, Finnish President then Manerheim welcomed Hitler to Helsinki and gave him a grand ducthy receiption. Finland colaborated with the Nazis. Thanks to most Swedes like Raoul Wallenberg, most Jewish lives were saved during the second World war. Sweden is still the greatest country in Europe no matter what you RACIST FINNS want the World to belive. Swedish diplomacy for over a 100 years saved the lives of many humans. Sweden is still the most humanitarian country in the World after the United States. Sweden remains the best form of democracy in the World. In the country of blind men, the one eye man is the King, perharps you @FIN_E is the one eye man in FInland, perhaps you are one of those one eye Finns trying to protect the darkness of your nation. The truth shall set you free. Finland is still the most RACIST country in Europe!!! Don't really care whatever excuse you give here. Have a great week! I am done with you!!!!
23:28 October 27, 2009 by DaTraveler
I came up with an idea similar to this over a year ago. Would definitely work and could be initalized within the next 10-20 years. We already know Scandys are all pretty close with 1 another.

But how would this union effect the culture/mentality of the citizens and what does this mean for defense? Would Norway/Denmark/Iceland leave NATO? That's impossible but perhaps Finland/Sweden join.
00:52 October 28, 2009 by Leprehcaun
As much as I like the idea I can't imagine that I'd see any serious talk about this for the rest of my life.. It's not going to happen :/..
08:51 October 28, 2009 by Marc the Texan
All the Nordic countries are all pretty nationalistic. I don't see this happening. Each treasure their own cultural furniture and I don't see that changing either. I think this is only positive for some kind of Nordic ego and the point would be to in some way push Nordic culture and politics as some kind of unified conglomeration. It seems to me doing this would destroy what each of these countries seems to value the most, their national identity. The only other reason be to further increase the already fairly free trade, but you don't need a Nordic Union for that. Although, having said all that, there is probably room for more integrated military, polce and various other state services and agencies.
10:45 October 28, 2009 by KamiZ
i just read this article and then noticed people had commnted on it. so i thought 'ok people will say either yes or no'. what i was not prepared for was the neo-Nazis arriving and starting the usual hate propaganda.

personally, i think all the nordic countries have so much potential and they are all such good places to live (that's not just me, check out the Human Development Index) that a federation can be nothing but good. and such a thing will have enormous cultural, economic, defence and welfare benefits for all. another good step can be strengthening the nodric council and giving it EU like powers (not in all areas but some). that way the countries can remain independent and be united at once. it'll be sort of like a bloc within the EU.
11:28 October 28, 2009 by Zaneiro
Textrusso: And the Swedish king personally shaked hands with Mannerheim after the war, for not letting germans to occupy Sweden. Germans were after minerals of sweden, but Mannerheim wouldn't agree that as a part of the deal. So know your history, man!
15:38 October 28, 2009 by Labhrais
Yet another Swede that has not understood the content, intent or obligations of the ratification of the EU constitution by Sweden..
20:12 October 28, 2009 by svenskdod
Awesome idea!!! They could have a Vikingarlament.

Seriously though, the constitutions of all countries would have to change significantly, and there would be overwhelming rejection from the mundanes. In every sense it would help all of the countries. Denmark's wind farms, Norway's fisheries, Hydro dam's and oil fields, Island's geographic location (Militarily), Sweden's Pytt i Panna and Finland's cheap booze.

There is nothing to loose except their identity, and really were all human aren't we?
02:38 October 30, 2009 by Luke35711
Scandinavia only exists if one is looking from afar. If you live here, you realise that there is a lot of nationalism around here. I suspect controlling Swedes are the only ones keen some sort in integration: bigger government, more power, more politics, more meetings, less honest work, how lovely!
20:33 October 30, 2009 by Ron Pavellas
As an immigrant (and undoubtedly somewhat ignorant) Swede from the USA (dual citizen) I think it a positive idea for the political reasons expounded here--fie on Brussels. I haven't known any Icelandic folks, but I've known people from the other Nordic countries and descendants of people from the other Nordic countries. Their values seem quite alike, especially in comparison to other European countries, and I feel quite comfortable with them--I'm even getting to get to like Lagom (not so sure about jantelagen, however). It is amusing to see the minor differences between say, Norwegians and Swedes, so exaggerated when, from the outside, the two sets of folks seem quite alike in most respects. My daughter's mother-in-law is descended directly form Finnish immigrants to the USA and retains ties with the old country. She is a marvelous and admirable woman. MY dad had much to do with immigrant Finns in San Francisco setting up a consumer's cooperative during WWII. He admired them all, and especially the Finnish people for withstanding the Soviets. Danes seem quite friendly and open and I've liked all I've met. And, I married a Swede. Let's all get together over some snaps and do a deal!
20:21 November 3, 2009 by israeli
what a relief. i was sure the next move of the swedish hunta would be to declare a federation with iran and syria. well now the swedish entity will be diluted into a wider aryan blond arena. i trust the danish nation to stop the islmization tendencies of the IKEA state.
15:10 November 26, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I really am a firm believer that the Nordic countries should have unified in a similar way as the EU has. The Nordic Council should have expanded its role and a unified currency - the Nordic Crown, should have been made. Add a customs union and have the Nordic countries stay out of the EU and Euro and the Nordic region of the world would be a powerful global player, both economically and strategically. Carl Bildt would never have been marginalized like he was in Sri Lanka were the Nordic countries unified with each other and not with Southern Europe. France, Germany, and the UK will always be the big players in the EU, will always call the shots, and will treat the Nordic countries as small little brother's to boss around. That won't change. Yet all Nordic people know that their region has more to offer the world than that. It is idiocy that there never was a unified Nordic currency.
13:31 September 4, 2010 by Finnish guy
Texrusso, unfortunatelly Swedish language has not been phased out as a compulsory language at schools in Finland. There news that they are trying to force students to have even more Swedish lessons and evet at younger age although over 80 percent of the population would like to get rid of this kind of forced Swedish language lessons.

The 5 percent population of Swedish speakers in Finland are mostly Finns. In many cases many generations ago their ancestors switched their language from Finnish to Swedish as at that time you needed to speak Swedish in order to get appointed to any significnt office, to get good education etc. And now we are stuck with them and their oppression against Finnish speakers.

It is true that Finland co-operated with nazi Germany until Finland made peace with Soviet Union, but this was only because Soviet Union attacked first to Finland and we couldn't get help in significant amount from other countries and we were small country with little arms against superpower. And Finland didn't gave any Finnish Jews to Germany even though they asked and for that reason Finland was maybe the only place in world where German soldiers fought with Jewish soldiers against common enemy. Some Finnish Jews were even awarded Germand medals of honour, but as far as I know, all of them refused to take them.

I think that Nordnic countries have much in common, but I am somewhat pessimistic because we Finns have seen what kind oppression 5 percent Swedish speaking minority have don't with forced Swedish to Finnish speakers, because we wouldn't like to fund any archaic royalty system and we woudln't like to receive huge number of muslim immigrants to replace the original populations, although at the moment Swedish speaking political party tries hard to make Finland to follow Swedish example in this matter...

At the moment the relationship with Nordic countries is really good and we can respect eachother, like how relatively small Sweden has been able to produce their own figher jets. If we had too close relationship, then conflicts might arise in similared way they often do, when huge number of immigrants suddenly appeart to some other country or culture and when different groups have to fight for the same resources or money.
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