|Den Nordiske Union|
Den Nordiska Unionen
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday
Flag of the Nordic Union
The Nordic Union, as of June, 2011. Dark areas are members, light are observers.
|Formation||September 26, 1990|
|Type||Economic and political union|
North Germany (observer)
|President of the Union||Sauli Niinistö (2011)|
|Main organ||Nordic Council|
Nordic Law Thing
|Parent organization||Nordic Council|
The Nordic Union (NU) is an economic and political union consisting of 12 member states along with three observer states. The successor of the Nordic Council, it was established by the Treaty of Trondheim in 1990 by the Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic governments. Despite having a shared political system and union, the countries are relatively independent, but work closely with each other due to their cultural and historic ties.
After the Third World War, the Nordic countries struggled to rebuild their countries following several nuclear attacks, nuclear fallout and a subsequent short conflict with Soviet troops in northern Norway. However, the nation survived mainly due to their morale boost created by the popular Norwegian King Olav V and his successor Harald V.
On September 26 1990, the surviving Icelandic, Norwegian and Danish governments, along with the Swedish and Finnish governments, declared the foundation of the “Nordic Union” comprising of government-controlled territories of Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Svalbard.
Members of the Union
The union consists of the following members:
Second round of enlargement
Karelia has applied for membership in the Nordic Union ever since it established contact with Finland in 1996, and its willingness to enter the organization has increased in recent years. Citing its historical and cultural ties with Finland, in 2001, the Nordic Law Thing recommended making Karelia an official candidate for membership. Candidate country status was granted to Karelia in 2006 by the Nordic Law Thing and by the Nordic Council and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations was set for early 2007. While still receiving aid from the Nordic Union, the Nordic Union announced that the way was open for Karelia to join the union on August 10, 2010.
When Estonia declared independence on August 20, 1985 (unlike fellow Baltic countries Courland and Lithuania, which announced their independence on May 15, 1984), the Estonian government made their ultimate long-term goal to join the Nordic Union, citing their cultural and historic ties to Finland. However, due to difficulties in the first years of independence, their application for membership was first sent on June 18, 1998. Due to the rapid economic growth since the 2000s, the Nordic Law Thing recommended making Estland an official candidate for membership in May 2002. Candidate country status was granted to Estonia in 2006 by the Nordic Law Thing and by the Nordic Council and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations was set for early 2007. The Nordic Union announced that the way was open for Estonia to join the union along with Karelia on August 10, 2010.
Third round of enlargement
The Sapmi Republic first made contact with the newly-formed Nordic Union in 1991. Right away, its connection to the Sami minority in Norway and Finland gave it a connection to the Union, as well. However, the chaos and destruction remaining in the region following the Russo-Sami War in the mid-1980s still remained, and when combined with the Second Winter War that lasted until 1999, prevented them from applying for membership for quite some time. In 2002, they finally managed to send their application in to the Union, citing their relationship with the Sami minority already present. As a result of this, and the increasing peace and prosperity in the Republic, the Nordic Law Thing recommended making the Republic an official candidate country in April of 2006. Entry-level negotiations began in May of 2009, largely centered around the small size of the Republic and its infrastructure. Since the Siberian invasion of Aralia in January of 2010, however, the negotiations took on a more urgent air, and began to be rushed along. In April of 2011, in a move believed to have been rushed because of Siberian movements to annex territory between their Ural territory and the Soviet areas of Karelia, it was announced that the way was open for the Republic to join the union on June 10, 2011.
In 2002, citing the vast connections of their Republic to the Nordic Union and its historic connections to the Baltic, the Novgorodians formally sent an application for membership to the Nordic Law Thing, in a move according to their long-term goals. Opposition for varied reasons kept Novgorod from being named an official candidate for membership until October of 2006, and even then the vote was close. Candidate country status came a bit faster, being approved in August of 2008. Negotiations were tentatively scheduled to start in the fall of 2010, and expected to take quite some time. However, increased agitation on the part of the Novgorodians due to the Siberian invasion of Aralia in January of 2010 led to a diplomatic request to start them sooner, which was approved, and the negotiations began in earnest that February. Their political and economic structures, along with their lack of a definite Baltic coastline at that point in time, were believed to be the main barriers to their becoming members. Siberian actions, however, are known to have hurried up these negotiations even further, definitely more than they should have been, leading to their successful conclusion in May of 2011. The Nordic Union thus announced that the way was open for them to join alongside the Sami Republic on June 10th, 2011.
After the referendum on November 9, 1993, in which the population residing in northern Germany voted to remain independent, it was decided that a new German government was to be formed. When the country was officially proclaimed on July 5, 1994, the Danish government under Prime Minister Poul Schlüter, who was a close friend of the German chancellor Helmuth Kohl, would express his support for giving North Germany observer status in the Nordic Union. This was approved by the Danish MNPs in the Nordic Council. While initially facing opposition in some member states such as Iceland, Sweden and Finland, they were eventually persuaded by the Danish and the Norwegian governments, especially by the endorsements of former Norwegian Prime Minister Kåre Willoch and Poul Schlüter. Although the North German government worked on getting the country less dependent on Nordic aid as well as helping to grow a domestic economy, they sent their application for membership on June 5, 2000. Candidate country status was granted to Germany in 2005 by the Nordic Law Thing and by the Nordic Council and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations was set for early 2006. The Nordic Union announced that the way was open for North Germany to join the union on August 10, 2010. However, several months before August 2010 North Germany announced it would like to remain an observer, but adopting the Nordic Law Thing and retaining the Deutsche mark.
The Duchy of Courland initially held little desire to join the Nordic Union after its formation in 1990, preferring to strengthen their alliance with their Lithuanian neighbors. Eventually, however, after they started talks in this direction with their fellow member of the Baltic Alliance, Lithuania, it was decided by both to pursue observer status, on much the same terms as the North Germans, shortly after the announcement that they would like to hold that same status upon their ascension, should they be allowed to join. Because of this stated wish, many of the normal processes were set aside, and following negotiations, it was announced that the way was open for the Duchy to join the Union as an observer on June 10th, 2011.
As with their Courlander allies, Lithuania at first held no desire to join the Union. However, the Grand Duchy slowly became more favorable to this, though they did not seriously pursue the matter. However, their Courlander allies eventually brought the matter up with them, being more apt to joining but not wishing to do so without the Lithuanians. The announcement by North Germany a few short months before their membership that they would remain as an observer but join some of the Union institutions went over very well with the Lithuanians, who endorsed an endeavor towards that direction. Because of this stated wish, many of the normal processes were set aside, and following negotiations, it was announced that the way was open for the Grand Duchy to join the Union as an observer alongside the Courlanders on June 10th, 2011.
Nordic Law Thing
The Nordic Law Thing (In Norwegian Det nordiske lagting, in Danish Det nordiske lagting, in Swedish Det nordiska lagting and in Icelandic Norðurlandalögþing) forms one half of the Nordic Union's legislature. The 150 members of the Nordic Law Thing (MNL) are directly elected by Nordic Union citizens every five years. Although MNLs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats.
Each of the Nordic countries has a number of seats in the council, measured partially by the size of the population as well as economic importance. The Faroe Islands and Greenland each have four members who are part of the Danish delegation. The Sami minority in Northern Norway has two members who are part of the Norwegian delegation. Åland also has three members included in the Finnish delegation. The composition of the Nordic Council is:
- Sweden (26)
- Norway (24)
- Denmark (18)
- Finland (18)
- Iceland (12)
- North Germany (12)
- East Karelia (6)
- Novgorod (5)
- Courland (5)
- Lithuania (5)
- Estonia (4)
- Faroe Islands (4)
- Greenland (4)
- Åland (3)
- Sapmi Republic (2)
- Sami minority in Norway (2)
Committee and party groups
The MNLs sit according to political groups or committee rather than their nationality. The Nordic Law Thing is divided into the following
- Culture and Education
- Welfare Committee
- Civic and Consumer Committee
- Energy Committee
- Agriculture and Fisheries Committee
- Environment and Nature Conservation Committee
- Business Committee
- Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee
- Minority Affairs Committee
And in the four party groups:
The Nordic Council forms the other half of the Nordic Union's legislature. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. Notwithstanding its different compositions, it is considered to be one single body. In addition to its legislative functions, the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The Thing and the Council form and pass legislation jointly, using co-decision, in certain areas of policy. This procedure has extended to many new areas under the Treaty of Stockholm, and hence increase the power and relevance of the Parliament. The Parliament also has the power to reject or censure the Council and the NU budget. The President of the Union carries out the role of speaker in Parliament and represents it externally. The president and vice presidents are elected by MNLs every three years.
President of the Union
The economy of the Nordic Union has been based on a common market and mutual co-operation, with the basic idea of trading all of their resources with each other, thus compensating for each members shortages.
One of the core objectives of the Nordic Union was the development of a common market, subsequently renamed the single market, and a customs union between its member states. The single market involves the free circulation of goods, capital, people and services within the Nordic Union, and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Once goods have been admitted into the market they can not be subjected to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally.
Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries. The free movement of labour already implemented by the Nordic Council in 1952 means citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states.
The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member states in order to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis. While services account for between fifty and sixty percent of GDP, legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. This lacuna has been addressed by the recently passed Directive on services in the internal market which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services. According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised.
Norway is the union's largest energy provider, being the largest exporter of hydropower and of oil and natural gas, making the Nordic countries self-sufficient on energy. They are also a major exporter of lumber and fish. The oil and natural gas been responsible for the high economic growth and the rebuilding the country, and currently the sovereign wealth fund (Government Pension Fund — Global), which would be funded with oil revenues, including taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees, comprising the value of around NUK 1,528 billion.
As a result, it has not only become the main provider of energy to the Nordic Union (100 billion standard cubic meters worth of oil and gas to each member state every ten years, worth a total of NOK 200 billion), it has also become a major exporter to other European countries. On August 8, 1998, Norway signed a deal with North Germany for 50 million standard cubic meters of natural gas for the next 14 years. On October 8, 2001, Norway signed a deal with the Celtic Alliance for the export of 200 standard cubic meters of natural gas and 80 standard cubic meters of oil over the next 20 years. On May 5, 2003, Norway signed a deal with the Commonwealth of East Poland of 84 million standard cubic meters of natural gas and 50 million standard cubic meters of oil over 16 years.
Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland are the major exporters of fish and seafood in the union, totalling between NUK 91,6 billion and NUK 103,2 billion yearly. While the four countries export large quantities of Atlantic cod, Norway also exports salmon, while Greenland and Iceland also continues whaling. The Nordic Union's exporters of fish are the Alpine Confederation, the Commonwealth of East Poland and Luxembourg.
Denmark is the union's main agricultural exporter of the Nordic Union, which includes exports of including poultry, pork, dairy products and grain. Especially North Germany relied on the Danish export of grain, pork and dairy products in its first difficult years of independence, and continues to this day to be the main importer of Danish goods. However, also Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estland and Poland are large importers of Danish food products. In 1992, the production of beer by Carlsberg and Tuborg was once again continued.
Sweden comprises the majority of the union's heavy industry. Sweden's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. In terms of telecommunications, they were the main contributor along with Finland's Nokia of connecting the Nordic countries with each other. The automotive industry (Scania, Volvo and Saab) has also become one of the leading car manufacturers in Europe. The pharmaceutical industry is also of great importance, along with lumber, hydropower and iron ore.
Finland is the union's largest contributor of lumber, and along with Sweden, Nokia has been the main contributor along with Finland's Nokia of connecting the Nordic countries and other European countries with each other. Other major industries are the chemical industry as well as nuclear power.
The creation of a Nordic single currency became an official objective of the Nordic Union in 1999. With the advent of the Stockholm Treaty in 2003 that member states were legally bound to start the monetary union no later than January 1, 2006. On this date the NUK (Nordic Crown) was duly launched by all of the member states of the Nordic Union. The NUK is based on the Norwegian Krone, which had been the most stable currency of all of the Nordic Countries. It remained an accounting currency until January 1, 2007, when NUK notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the member states.
The NUK is designed to help build a single market by, for example: easing travel of citizens and goods, eliminating exchange rate problems, providing price transparency, creating a single financial market, price stability and low interest rates, and providing a currency used internationally and protected against shocks by the large amount of internal trade within the Nordic Union.
The NUK, and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU, are under the control of the a joint board of the central banks of all of the major member states.
Politics in Norway
The focus of the main political parties in Norway was to focus on national consolidation and unity instead of emphasing political differences. However, shortly following the war the far-left political parties Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti - SV), Communist Party of Norway (Norges Kommunistiske Parti - NKP) and Red Electoral Alliance (Rød Valgallianse - RV) were banned, and a few members from SV, who were willing to moderate their political views, were allowed to join the Social Democrats.
Following the Third World War, the main political parties from both the left and right put their political differences aside to focus on national reconsiliation and rebuilding. The right-wing parties of Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet - FrP), Conservative Party (Høyre - H), Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti - KrF) and Liberal Party (Venstre - V) allied themselves with the left-wing parties of Social Democratic Party (Arbeiderpartiet - Ap) and Centre Party (Senterpartiet - Sp), and since then there has not been an election focusing mainly on party politics.
In the latest elections in Norway, the Norwegian Labour Party formed a grand coalition with the Progress Party and Conservative Party and the Norwegian Labour Party, focusing on national reconsiliation and improving both the economy by a mixture of nationalisation and privatisation.
Politics in Iceland
Since the end of the Third World War, the right-wing Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) and left-wing Social Democratic Party (Samfylkingin) has, as in Norway, put their political differences aside to focus on national reconsiliation and rebuilding. In the last election, the Independence Party improved their majority in the government, and is now working on expanding the economy by fishing.
Politics in Sweden
Politics in Denmark
Politics in Finland
In the early years of the Union no strong military alliance were devised as each member state considered their own national defenses to be appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes. Thus, the Armed Forces of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have the responsibility for the defence and securing the national sovereignty of their respective countries.
However, on January 1, 2005, the Nordic Union established the Nordic Battle Group after the national governments as well as the Council and the Law Thing had approved it on November 6, 2004. The Nordic Battle Group consists of around 5,200 soldiers including officers, with manpower contributed from the four participating countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark). The military strategic command of the force is done in co-operation with the any suitable of the four Operation Headquarters framework nations at the time for deployment.
The group is intended to be deployed on the ground within 5–10 days of approval from the Council. It must be sustainable for at least 30 days, which could be extended to 120 days, if resupplied.
The Battle group is designed to deal with the following tasks: Humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking, evacuation, joint disarmament operations and security sector reform operations as part of broader institution building (the European Security Strategy tasks).
The Battle Group consists of 1,000 soldiers from the Norwegian Army, 1,000 soldiers from the Danish Army, 1,200 soldiers from the Swedish Army and 1,000 soldiers from the Finnish Army. While the Swedish and Danish troops emphasizes training in mechanized warfare, the Norwegian and Finnish armies main focus is winter and mountain warfare, while Norway also emphasizes naval warfare.
This Battle Group, along with other troops from the member countries inside the ADC, fought in the Saguenay and Second Sicily Wars, contributing ships and planes to the former, with the addition of ground forces for the latter, in the first major deployment of Nordic forces.
The union has four main arms manufacturers, who is also the main supplier of equipment for the Armed Forces of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
- Kongsberg Gruppen ("The Kongsberg Group") is Norway's major defence contractor and maritime automation supplier, located in and named after former mining town Kongsberg. It is divided into two operating companies, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and Kongsberg Maritime (KM). KDA develops and produces defence and space systems, while KM makes advanced maritime electronic equipment for seagoing vessels from small fishing boats and cabin cruisers to large oil tankers.
Kongsberg Gruppen delivers AG-3 assault rifles (West German H&K G 3 produced under license) to the Norwegian Armed Forces. It also manufactures a licensed version of the MG 3 machine gun, as well as various artillery pieces for the Norwegian and Danish armies. They are also the designer and manufacturer of the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System), the medium to long range air-defence system using the Norwegian-designed ALLMVR (Avansert luft-til-luft missil for vanlig rekkevidde, in English: Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) which is responsible for defending the air space in the Nordic Union. It was the first surface-to-air missile system in the former western world with active radar guidance.
KOG is divided into two operating companies, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and Kongsberg Maritime (KM). KDA develops and produces defence and space systems, while KM makes advanced maritime electronic equipment for seagoing vessels from small fishing boats and cabin cruisers to large oil tankers.
- Saab AB, located in Stockholm, Sweden, is the Nordic Union's main aerospace and defence company. In the early years of the Union, they manufactured and exported hundreds of Saab 37 Viggen single-seat, single-engine, short-medium range fighter and attack aircraft. Starting from 1999, Saab AB has manufactured the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, a lightweight multirole fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft. Sweden has a total of 260 aircraft, with Norway having a 100 (along with another 120 F-16s acquired from the United States during the early 1980s), Finland having 130 and Denmark 80 (along with 100 F-16s acquired from the United States).
- BAE Systems Bofors, located in Karlskoga, Sweden, is responsible for the production of various artillery pieces, including the 40 mm Bofors automatic cannons for the CV90 infantry combat vehicle, which is also the standard armoured personnel carrier in the Norwegian (alongside the NM135 and M113N), Danish (alongside the M113DK), Swedish and Finnish armies.
- BAE Systems Hägglunds, located in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, is the main manufacturer of the Haubits 77 (Field Howitzer 77), the 155 mm main howitzer of the Nordic armies, as well as the designer and manufacturer of the CV90 infantry fighting vehicle. They are also responsible for upgrading the Leopard 1A1 tanks of the Norwegian and Danish armies, which since 1995 also is the standard main battle tank of the Swedish and Finnish armies.