Relations between the European Union and the Nordic Countries : is there a Nordic Reluctance ? - commentaires Relations between the European Union and the Nordic Countries : is there a Nordic Reluctance ? 2007-03-03T18:26:00Z 2007-03-03T18:26:00Z <p>Dear Sir,</p> <p>thank you for your interesting article on the Nordic countries and their different stances towards European integration. Being a European of Swedish decent I take particular interest in your article.</p> <p>Let's see it in another light. Undoubtedly the Nordic states within the Union, Sweden, Finland and Denmark has made a difference, despite their different approaches towards the EU. Together, in the EU, they have found it easier to approach similar minded States like e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and any/many other states, to build coalitions to improve the environmental matters, to have emplyoment rights, transparency in the EU-institutions for increased support and democracy, and similar things introduced into the treaties. Moreover, the countries have such a different stances, as well as historic backgrounds for that for their stance, so it is not really reasonable to try to dechiper a pattern of why some hesitance, reluctance or 'no' occurs, and sweepingly put all the Nordic countries together.</p> <p>In any case, sometimes reluctancde can infact prove useful. Eventually. The Danish 'No' in 1992 was an earthquake for all governements. It could be seen as an impulse to improve the Union, slowly and gradually. The governments suddenly realised that the EU could not longer be taken for granted and their own efforts to explain the EU had been totally insufficient. Indeed the Union has become much more open since that event, since the arrival of the 3rd enlargement countries in 1995. For Norway I may add, even a simple thing as the word 'Union' had a negative connotation since the foreced union with Sweden. But more importantly was the fact that Norway has little economic need of the EU becouse of its rich oil wells. So the nationalistic rethoric, and self chosen 'splendid isolation' will become an even more integrated part of Norweigan folk soul for the foreseable future.</p> <p>Club theory</p> <p>Both Norway and Iceland can do well withouth the Union. As can the EU. In fact even better. You would not want « a new Sweden » entering into the EU, with a hesitant population, and thus weak government, unable to support, drive and enhance European integration. New forms of co-operations, 'everything but membership' is the solution for these two countries. As for many other countries knocking on the door. The notion of 'borders' in/out need to be disolved. Just as already the Prodi Commission spoke of the EU having a 'ring of friends" for the EU, rather than offering membership. If the EU wants to be able to keep its efficiency in decision making power, it can not keep on expanding without limits. For each new member there is a a 'cost' as 'club theory' teaches us. (The EU giving up decision making efficiency, less time for discussions in the Council, the added value of one more full member states simply reduces for each new one. Not to mention how it dilutes the representativity in the European Parliament.) So that Norway or Iceland would enter into the Union without a substantial price to pay is unthinkable, as they would contribute very little.</p> <p>Nordic states all different-all equal</p> <p>The individual dilemma of each Nordic country is a problem for them each. As they are all different. Norway having too much oil. Iceland not wanting to give up fisheries. Sweden being a underperforming member, and Finland not having a problem at all. This is not for the EU.</p> <p>EU to focus on problems in the southeast/east, not north.</p> <p>The EU should concentrate on the problematic parts of Europe, instead than looking towards the north and the 'troublesome' Norway and Iceland. Relations with Ukraine, and the only dictator in Europe in Belarussia is of course much more pressing. As well as integrating Croatia into the Union eventually. It they really would want to join in a few years, the EU may not have time for them anyway. The main and only thing they oculd contribute with would be to make a heavy financial tribute to the EU's funding. Politically, for the EU, there is little advantage ith on the inside. Let them remain good examples of countries that stay outside of the formal, strict 'border' of being inside the EU and that the EU can not harbour all European countries if it should remain credible, democratic and efficient. Instead countries should be offered edverything but membership, just as the Prodi Commission clarified.</p> <p>(May I mention that none of the Nordic states is really young, possibly apart from Finland, which became the common term in the mid 18th century. You may want to alter the spelling of 'Välfärdsstaten' the welfare state'.) Yours sincerly Ulf Bergstrom, PSE, Greece/Sweden</p>