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Odds and Ends
1 12, 8:20pm
European politics and country relationships are incredibly complex. The best explanation I have seen, is this diagram from Wikipedia:
The chart would be even more complex if autonomous territories such as Åland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Svalbard were to be included.
As for the traditional Nordic countries, about the only thing they have in common is membership in the Nordic Council. In the 1950s, the Council agreed on the Nordic Passport Union and common labor market, but otherwise each country's politics diverged, making closer cooperation (or a political union) impossible.
Nowadays, the Schengen agreement and the EU/EFTA free labor agreements have superseded these old treaties, The Nordic Council is just an inter-parliamentary "coffee club" without much purpose or new ideas except some cultural exchange and an idea of a common heritage or a common "Nordic culture". But perhaps the political divergence necessitates a more informal "coffee club", where practical problems can be discussed.
As for the Baltics, there are several factors in favor of a closer cooperation with the Nordic countries:
* All are small countries within a defined geographic region
* We have a big neighbor to the east that we need to handle with care
* There are common historical and cultural ties
If the Baltics want to become members of the Nordic council, they should be admitted. Today, they only have observer status.