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Poll: Strong support for common Nordic state

AFP/The Local · 3 Nov 2010, 07:11

Published: 03 Nov 2010 07:11 GMT+01:00

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When asked what they thought of the idea of creating a common Nordic state, 11 percent said they were "very favourable" and 31 percent said they were "favourable," according to a poll conducted by the Oxford Research institute on behalf of the Nordic Council.

A majority of the 1,032 people questioned meanwhile remained sceptical to the idea, with 40 percent saying they were "opposed" and 18 percent saying they were "very opposed."

By joining forces, the five countries could create a state with a population of 25 million and the world's 10th largest economy, lending far more political sway to a region whose largest country, Sweden, has 9.3 million inhabitants.

Oxford Research, a non-governmental organisation, presented those questioned with a scenario in which the Nordic countries had "a common head of state and common foreign policy and judicial system, but with semi-autonomous governments in each country."

Men were more favourable than women to the idea, which had strongest traction in Sweden and in Iceland, according to the poll.

Among the main reasons people said they were positive to a common Nordic state were that "this will give the countries more international influence," the culture in the Nordic countries is the same" and "this will strengthen the welfare state."

The main reasons for the negative responses were meanwhile "we will lose our national identity," "we are afraid of losing our local democracy" and "the countries are too different."

The Local reported in October 2009 that Swedish historian Gunnar Wetterberg advocated for the creation of a five-country Nordic confederation which he argued would enhance the international influence of the Nordic region.

“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 wrote at the time.

The idea of creating a Nordic federation has gained ground in recent years amid calls to compensate for the small size of the wealthy countries in the region, and to lend more weight to the region's European Union members Sweden, Denmark and Finland within the bloc.

Story continues below…

The Nordic Council, which is meeting until Thursday in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, brings leaders and ministers of the five Nordic countries to discuss common issues and problems.

For the poll, conducted between October 22 and 27, 302 people were questioned in Sweden, 201 in Finland, 200 in Denmark, 200 in Norway and 129 in Iceland.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:39 November 3, 2010 by Carnitas
Gotta think that the big losers in this scenario would be Iceland. They have a wonderful, crime-free society going on up there with some beautiful women, a long, illustrious culture and are proud of their heritage. They are isolated and probably somewhat naive to a lot of the societal changes that the other countries in this proposed union have seen over the last 20 or so. Simply put, I don't think they could deal with it. Also, wondering why the Faroese are not included in this?
07:39 November 3, 2010 by apostolos1975
Why, oh why is always the "welfare state" among the main arguments???
07:41 November 3, 2010 by Carnitas
20 or so years, I meant to say.
07:48 November 3, 2010 by Norrlands Turk
I was actually about to create a topic about this in the discussion board. I am not surprised half of Scandinavians think in this way really. A Nordic Union, which includes three Baltic states as well, would be pretty powerful in international arena.
08:40 November 3, 2010 by procrustes
Danish bread basket and resources (Greenland will be big), Norman oil, Icelandic fish, Swedish and Finnish industry plus Finland's proximity to Russia is a powerful formula for common benefit. BUT, Scandinavian tribalism will never let it happen.
08:45 November 3, 2010 by wabasha
this would make the winter olympics a bit boring.
09:06 November 3, 2010 by engagebrain
It would only happen if it involved creating more jobs for politicians.
10:07 November 3, 2010 by Bless
It is a really bad reporting by The Local. Are you reporting or manuipulating? Your title is deceiving...the research still says 58% of the people are opposes to that idea. Sounds like people are using media to campagin their ideas and not interested in reality! The article tries to justify the idea of creating a joint state and should be termed as an 'opinion' or an 'editorial'. 1032 is a very small sample size...
10:22 November 3, 2010 by Åskar
@Carnitas: "Also, wondering why the Faroese are not included in this? "

Probably because the Faroe islands are a part of Denmark.
10:27 November 3, 2010 by NickM
@Bless, exactly! Surely the headline should be "Almost two thirds oppose a Nordic state"!
10:52 November 3, 2010 by calebian22
This is a great idea! I hope it continues to gain ground.
11:33 November 3, 2010 by mehdiking
Hmmm. Great Idea ..... If finland , Greenland , Denmark ,Sweden and Norway . Total population 26 million and Total land 3.44 Km*2 ... It will be Greater Than China and USA ...... And already Economic of Scandanvian Countries are good and also population is controlled :P .... They can be superPower in next coming Years . I would say
11:37 November 3, 2010 by Nemesis
According to the survey, most oppose unification.
12:04 November 3, 2010 by Keith #5083
and what, pray, do any of these countries actually have in common? As an 'immigrant' observer of these cultures it seems to me there is very little in common.

Of course, there has been nothing to prevent closer co-operation with each other all these years - except, of course, a general unwillingness to cooperate.

If the ideas, management, design abilities, quality of product, etc. don't mark out a culture as 'special in the world', the mathematics of population size will not do it either.

On my blog I regularly (as does TheLocal) show the occasions when Sweden is voted - internationally - as being in the forefront of world consciousness in all manner of ways: health care, environment car, economic/banking expertise, quality and longevity of life...etc.etc.

The 11% who strongly favour 'federalism' obviously never read these reports or have a strong (usually financial) vested interest in pursuing this folly.
13:14 November 3, 2010 by Mb 65
This would be great so long as we all come out of the EU.
13:35 November 3, 2010 by calebian22

These countries have more in common than these countries have with other EU countries. A Nordic Union is a better idea than involvment in a European Union.
14:35 November 3, 2010 by StockholmSam
Maintaining both EU status and NU (Nordic Union) status would be very problematic. EU membership would probably have to be forfeited for a Nordic Union to form and that would push prices up for all the Swedish exports to their target markets in the EU, which would be bad for Sweden's economy since it is export-based. . I don't see a Nordic Union happening unless there were some sort of odd inter-union agreement with the EU.
15:17 November 3, 2010 by Tanskalainen
It is about time!!!! But historically the Swedes have always been the ones oposed to this.
15:23 November 3, 2010 by JaneSpotting
Don't forget to add Canada, a lesser known Nordic state.

We would love to join, and be less associated with the US
15:26 November 3, 2010 by Carnitas
@Carnitas: "Also, wondering why the Faroese are not included in this? "

Probably because the Faroe islands are a part of Denmark.>>

Yes and no. They are apart of the Kingdom of Denmark but not members of the EU. I see your point though. Was just curious....
15:32 November 3, 2010 by mehdiking
Hmmm. Great Idea ..... If finland , Greenland , Denmark ,Sweden and Norway .Well, Its also going to be good if add CANADA .... Because it can be called nordic .. Then Total population will be 59 million and Total land 13.44 Km*2 ... It will be far far Greater Than China and USA ...... And already Economic of Scandanvian Countries are good and also population is controlled :P .... They We can call superPower in next coming Years . I would say ..... USA is over ....... Good thinking Swedish People
15:47 November 3, 2010 by Swedesmith
Interesting idea. What would we call it...Normarkdenland? Denfinsweway? Grendenmarkada?
16:13 November 3, 2010 by janswed
Who is going to be Head King?Or Emperor du Nord?
16:14 November 3, 2010 by yulles
Ketih: Quiet frankly....you don't have any idea what you are saying when you claim that the nordic states have little in common. We share so much when it comes to history, culture, mentality, religion, language......in fact we share much more than some groups of people living in allready exisiting states (Belgians, Italians etc).

I've been travelling a lot in my job (predominanlty in Sweden, Norway and Denmark)....and I can tell you that the differences between Swedes and Norwegians are so small that I wouldn't classify us as two different people. I mean...look at the differences within many other nations....Belgium, Italy, Switzerland etc.....in these nations people have a much harder time to identify themselves as members of one common state than Swedes and Norwegians would have if being one state. In my opinion......what differences Swedes and Norwegians are the same as what differences people from the south of Sweden and people from the north of Sweden.....local customs. I'm strong proponent for a common Nordic state because I think that we belong together. Just as....Willy Brandt stated in the unification process of Germany: Es wachst zusammen was zusammen gehort (freely translated: What belongs together will grow together).
16:16 November 3, 2010 by dermutt
Nordistan...how cute!!
16:51 November 3, 2010 by Kevtravels
Sounds like quite an idea.

But why is the argument "greater international influence"? Do people really sit at home thinking "it'd be better if those folks 3,000 miles away did things like us" or "wouldn't it be grand if we had a seat on the Security Council"?
18:32 November 3, 2010 by Kaethar
@Kevtravels: Yes. We Nordics genuinely believe our way of living is the best in the world and it frustrates us how little influence we have on an international scale. If all countries were like the Nordics there would be peace and prosperity in the world. ;) But diplomacy can only take you so far when you're such a small country. But seriously, Swedes and other Nordics definitely want our voices heard more than they are now. :/
18:57 November 3, 2010 by janswed
working at a time in Canada I was listening to some people conversing inSwedish so I asked what part of the Sweden they came from ,the answer was the Norweigan part LOL. the point is are languages are so similar even I a Swed could not tell, so Keith5083 you are wrong we share many things, we do not always get along but we do fairly well,now Iceland could be a problem with the large dept per capita I think 350000dollars for every man woman and child ,now we could forget Estonia Latvia and Lituania they need to form there own union.
19:52 November 3, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Ahh, good. At last the Swedes, Danes and Finns are ready to recognize Norwegian Supremacy!

Much of Northern Scotland (especially the Orkneys and Shetlands where all the oil is offshore) is of Nordic descent, too, so we might as well add them.

We shall call the new Kingdom...the Kingdom of Greater Norway and it shall be ruled out of Trondheim.
20:20 November 3, 2010 by sparc
@Bless & NickM: So you say that 42% is unimportant? Really? In situations like this, even 20% is an important support. Let's see it this way: imagine the numbers where flipped and that the unification was enforced. Would you say that the 42% would have any merit in overthrowing the enforcement?

In any case, the only strong argument to be made here is that the sample is indeed too small to be representative of anything. Too small to even considering this whole discussion and it really looks more like like trying to fish out reactions than actually news worth reporting.

Personally, I really think of it as a great idea...
21:59 November 3, 2010 by Abbot

The Nordics have little influence in the world because they have little actual power. Sorry, but that is the way the world works. Bragging about gender equality and multiculturalism doesn't go as far as raw economic strength and military power and never will.
22:44 November 3, 2010 by Anaisnu
Timing is everything.

We have been one country many, many times before.

You have no idea...

European Union is a joke.

USA is going down, fast.

This, is the future!!!
23:07 November 3, 2010 by Hagrid
After spending last summer in Iceland I can't help but agree with Carnitas. Icelanders don't know how good they have it in their own little paradise, even with the last recession. It's like all the great things about Scandinavia without the downsides. And their naivity and small-country mentality is so charming. They need crime and immigration problems, as well as savvy politicians, like they need an aneurysm.
00:38 November 4, 2010 by Anarka
I say yes as long as Sweden is not included.
00:40 November 4, 2010 by VanIsl
Union is virtually inevitable. The climate change impacts that are coming this century, no matter what we do about reducing future carbon emissions, will leave the Nordic countries much better off as a federation than as independent states.

All northern countries, including my own Canada, will face a host of challenges and potential advantages from our proximity to the Arctic. If anything, Scandinavia may find its interests diverging from those of the EU.

It is a safe bet that the considerable support for union that exists today will only increase markedly with the passing of the next decade or two. Good luck to you all.
00:47 November 4, 2010 by mehdiking
Hmmm. Great Idea ..... If finland , Greenland , Denmark ,Sweden and Norway . Total population 26 million and Total land 3.44 Km*2 ... It will be Greater Than China and USA ...... And already Economic of Scandanvian Countries are good and also population is controlled :P .... They can be superPower in next coming Years . I would say .... Culture , Way of thinking is almost same ...... If we say including Canada, Canadian people are bit different because they came from France and England and also multiculture ....... Moreover , if they make states and in these five states elect one president like in USA ...... Then it would like one country and it is good for future generation :P .... In future people will consider it one country :P ..... Also be good friends with Russian
01:13 November 4, 2010 by darthur954
Sounds like the reconstituting of the Swedish empire under a different name. Why would anyone want this? Aren't Nordic countries doing just fine without it? Even Iceland in its current situation is much better off than most countries.
01:59 November 4, 2010 by Marc the Texan
What a terrible idea. This won't bring about any greater cultural influence, since Nordic cultures and languages differ. Cultural influence is won on its own merit, not by edict of the state, and a larger welfare state is just one that is more vulnerable to abuse and waste. If there is one thing these superstates do, it is to reduce democracy and freedom. I'm for open borders and free trade in Europe. That's all Europe needs, not being taxed by and smothered by another layer of unaccountable government. Europe needs less government, not more. I for one, can't wait to see it hit the fan when Catalonia declares independence from Spain. Its coming this decade. The best way to keep government and politicians accountable is to keep them local.
06:37 November 4, 2010 by NovaLand
A nordic state would rock... but leave Skaune out of it, they don't want to belong to us.
07:35 November 4, 2010 by Keith #5083
Oh, I trod on an eggshell. A broken case of revisionist history. Now, just so I understand correctly:

1. I am supposed to believe that all these countries have so much in common that they are the best of friends and cooperate very closely?

2. The main reason for desiring a 'Nordic bloc' is really just another way of attempting to exit the EU?

"history, culture, mentality, religion, language" - is supposedly shared. Well history is shared worldwide! Culture? Yep, definitely, huh? religion? That's an international thing, unless there is some special form of Nordic atheism I haven't heard of.

Language? Language? Yep, the similarities of language are absolutely clear for all to hear and see........Danish is so like Icelandic, Swedish is so like..hmmm.. Swedish. Norwegian, well they seem to have 4 million different dialects and Iceland is beyond my experience, so I won't say anything about it except that I am sure the rest of 'Nordicland' will happily bail out Iceland with the same ghusto that Norway bails out it's oil-starved neighbours, or Sweden exports it's electricity to other Nordic countries..


True.But what has power and military strength ever brought the masses? In USA-NO healthcare, limited unemployment help, etc. In Russia-gulags and Vodka! In China? Pollution. In Japan? Stagnation.

Maybe Nordic folk have surpassed the 'testosterone-era' of politicking and have developed something more humane. Maybe that's why the USA, f.eks., borrows Swedish Banking crisis models to put right it's economy - on which it's power and military is based.
09:23 November 4, 2010 by Alf Garnett
@Davidthenorseman: You willing to fight the Scots for the rights? The norsemen/Vikings couldn't do it 1500 yrs ago, I very much doubt they could do it now.

Keep on dreaming Trondheim
11:32 November 4, 2010 by hpunlimited
A common scandinavian state instead of a crappy EU that has nothing in common with scandinavia would be AWESOME!

Best idea I have heard in years. Scandinavia would be the strongest economical power in Europe hands down and no stupid EU committments.
17:19 November 4, 2010 by Finnish guy
Common Scandinavian state would probably mean that Finns would be forced to use Swedish language. If this is the case, I think that most Finns would strongly oppose it, because we have long history of our language being oppressed by Swedish speakers.

And if Danes, Norwegians and Swedish would like to keep their royalty, that could also be a problem.
20:40 November 4, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@Alf - It wouldn't be Alex Salmond who would be the problem...even the Scots can't get the oil fields out of London's hands....As soon as the Combined Greater Norwegian Naval Forces are ready to take on the British Navy it'll be on!!

PS - I don't see the Finns *ever* joining with Sweden voluntarily...Swedes have fonder memories of their occupation of Finland than the Finns do..........
23:58 November 4, 2010 by ngecenk
well iceland will be the most profit while norway... well they didnt even want to join eu :D
13:56 November 5, 2010 by Relton
As a resident of Denmark who is often in Sweden and Norway on business, I see a lot more sense being in a union of the Nordic countries than being in a union with, for instance, Mediterranean countries (i.e. the EU) with whom we have nothing in common.

And if anyone thinks that Sweden benefits more from being in a union with Greece than being in a union with Norway, please explain why, because I fail to see it.
14:41 November 5, 2010 by Syftfel
This is probably a good idea. Although I need to think about it some more. A Nordic area, based on its Christian heritage, and which is NOT a member of the EU (especially not the Schengen agreement) seems like an attractive prospect. The issue of Royalty must be solved however, because under no circumstances should such an area become a "republic". Then the entire concept would be doomed.
15:32 November 5, 2010 by Ekorrmaskin
Really? Am I the only one that wonders why they didn't bother to interview more people?

Seriously, out of 25 milion people, they only asked 1032 people their opinion. That is not strong support at all!

The article should be "some are in favor for a common Nordic state, some aren't, but we don't know the general opinion".

Gotta say, it would be a good idea to unite, like a sort of seperate EU.
08:46 November 8, 2010 by yulles
@Keith I don't where you are from....but it might be the case that you haven't been living in Scandinavia for such long time to really grasp how close our countries our First of all.......religion....well as you might know we are Christian (Protestants).....and.....on top of that we share the fact that we are very secularised. Generally speaking.....an ethnic Norwegian....Swede and Dane.....share the same values when it comes to religion....morals and norms in a wider sense. You can compare Scandinavians with ppl from Southern Europe.......I mean...we share...let's say......80-90% broadly speaking.....but we do we have in common with Italians or Greeks when it comes to marriage, adultery, abortion etc? VERY VERY little. Languages.....well.. sorry to say this but .you must be blind and deaf....if you don't realize how closely related Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are..........I as a native Swede have never ever had any problems communicating with Norwegians and Danes. ....and lastly....the mentality. I would argue that Scandinavians are one people. Did it ever struck you how we Scandinavians interact in social contexts? How loudly/quietly we speak? How we approach strangers? How we behave in night clubs/bars? How we shy away from conflicts? How we tend to always seek consus? How introvert/extrovert we are? Sense of humor? If you deny that we Scandinavians how extremely much in common when it comes to mentality....you don't really know much about Scandinavia. Let me give you one example......I was giving a workshop/lecture about cultural awareness 5 years ago. The 280 participants came from all over the world. Before the workshop started they were all asked to fill in a form about their values/opinions on different matters.....and guess what.....the Scandinavians.....were the ones that answered the q's most similarly. In fact the 15 participating Germans differed much more in their views on religion, cultural etc....than the Scandinavians.
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