Poll: Strong support for common Nordic state

Poll: Strong support for common Nordic state
Nearly half of all Danes, Finns, Norwegians, Swedes and Icelanders would like their countries to unite in a federal state, according to a poll published as members of the Nordic Council met Tuesday.

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.

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.

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