Finland proposes that Nordic Countries should form alliance at G-20
Finnish and Swedish governments mark 1809 split
The Finnish government is proposing that the Nordic Countries should join forces and participate as one group in the G-20 economic forum of industrialised countries.
Speaking in Hämeenlinna on Thursday, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) said that the Nordic Countries “should have a place” in the G-20.
Vanhanen put forward the initiative at a meeting of the governments of Finland and Sweden, which was held in Hämeenlinna.
“Depending slightly on how it is calculated, we would figure among the 15 biggest players”, Vanhanen said.
Under his vision, the Nordic G-20 alliance would include Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.
The governments of the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden gathered in Hämeenlinna to mark the bicentennial of the split between the two countries. Before that, Finland had been a part of Sweden for 600 years.
More than 30 ministers gathered in Hämeenlinna at a meeting symbolising the current problem-free relations between the two countries.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt had calculated that while the combined populations of the two neighbours comprise 0.002 per cent of the world population, their influence is much greater than that. Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) made references in his speech to children’s books - the Moomintroll series by Finnish author Tove Jansson, and Pippi Longstocking, by Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren.
The Swedes brought a gift with them - the Constitution of 1772. Vanhanen noted that the constitution was in force in Finland all the way to 1919.
There was much emphasis in the speeches about deepening and continuing relations between the two countries.
The two governments also approved a “Hämeenlinna Document”, which covers a number of topics from icebreaker cooperation and radio frequencies, to defence cooperation.
Prime ministers Matti Vanhanen and Fredrik Reinfeldt were asked if the meeting was the start of a tradition. Many ministers applauded the idea of more joint meetings, but the prime ministers laughed and said that both governments might do better to focus on their own countries.
Stubb also offered to share Sweden’s EU Presidency. The guests suggested that they might manage the ordeal on their own.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Russian Emperor riding to Porvoo saluted with cannon fire and tolling of church bells (27.3.2009)
Swedish PM says Finland and Sweden do not need to apologise to each other over common history (16.1.2009)
War of Finland 1808-1809 (21.2.2008)