Worldly Talk

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Federations and the future?

Federations and the future?

So, after having gotten into a debate on if the EU is a good thing for the fiftieth time, I figured I'd start a discussion here as well. I live in Finland and right now in my social circles there is a debate going on about joining new federations and if it would be a good or a bad thing. The single thing that most of us seem to agree on, is that Finland needs to join some sort of larger whole... federation or confederation as such as not to become even more insignificant on the global stage. After some serious discussion we came to a certain things we don't want:
  • NATO. No desire to join any foreign wars that have nothing to do with us.
  • Becoming even more insignificant.
  • Having to pay for "others" (see Greece).

As such, the two possibilities arose: continuing on with the more centralized and powerful EU... or the long ago suggested Nordic Federation. Right now a lot of people think that the Nordic one would make more sense, and would be a great choice when compared to the EU. Most of the arguments against EU seem to go down the,"Too large an economic gap and no cultural links" route.

I'm sure other people from other countries have similar arguments going on, and I'd love to hear about them and what you think the best choice would be for the Nordic Region.

Originally Posted by Olligarchy View Post
I'm sure other people from other countries have similar arguments going on, and I'd love to hear about them and what you think the best choice would be for the Nordic Region.
It depends what you want from the membership.
Economic benefits? Don't touch the EU with a bargepole. You will end up paying more than you get, and the pigs already have their noses in the trough in Brussels. The benefits of associate membership of the sort that Switzerland has are considerably better. And when the Russians start nosing around, offering, just remember who you hate most and why. The people may change, the government may change (actually, even that isn't happening), but they're still the same country with the same goals.

Politically, the same arguments apply.

One weird aside: Consider the possibility of applying to join the Commonwealth of Nations (previously the British Commonwealth). Since Mozambique (and later Rwanda) joined, the condition of having previously been a member of the British Empire no longer applies, and all the countries of the Nordic region would meet the requirements in every other aspect. One of the advantages is regular contact with 54 other members, low costs of membership, and the fact that they don't impose ridiculous decisions upon you (such as the acceptable degree of curve in a banana).

Yeah, economy seems to be the touchstone for the Nordics. We're almost Swiss like in wanting to hoard money and welfare. But yeah, I see what you mean. The Finnish motto during independence went,"Russians? Never." So I'd guess that we'll keep away from them at least. Especially given the fact that they keep insulting and downright lying about the adopted children here.

Join the Commonwealth? Doesn't that include having to accept HM Elizabeth II as your rightful monarch? For nations such as Finland and Iceland that would not be a problem (unless anti-monarchist tendencies come to the fore), but for countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark which are already monarchies it would in essence mean exchanging their monarch for a foreign one. Other than that, I don't see why not. Whilst the EU might be a regional power, the Commonwealth especially if enlarged could well become a global one again.

Sadly the unions seem to be based on two reasons: we don't like the US and we don't like Russia. As such any alternative seems preferable.

Dollarization might be an option. This is predominantly something done to switch a countries currency over to the US dollar, which quite a few countries have done. But there are also countries that use the Indian and Australian currency.

Iceland had been considering switching to the Canadian dollar. Canada has a lot in common with Norway. Why not?

Hell, there was talk of Greenland outright leaving Denmark for Canada.

We not so bad, eh?


On the Commonwealth thing... Canada is part of it. The Queen has no power whatsoever here.

Muggie, our thoughts on this are identical.

Originally Posted by Wippit Guud View Post
On the Commonwealth thing... Canada is part of it. The Queen has no power whatsoever here.
That's quite a ridiculous thing to say, especially in reply to the above.

Originally Posted by Gygaxphobia View Post
That's quite a ridiculous thing to say, especially in reply to the above.
How so? It's literally true.

Come on. She is the monarch and head of state. The constitution gives her very specific powers. In fact the entirety of the government and all the Crown corporations are run in her name. In fact the Queen has ultimate power in Canada, as a figurehead and guarantor of the constitution, as an office and as an instrument in law.

While you can argue that the powers of the Queen herself are limited and in practice very little, you cannot deny that she personally also has influence, directly, and also through her Governor General and other ministers.

In regards to the above statements, trying to counter the points about anti-monarchists and countries already with their own royal families by arguing that the monarch of the commonwealth doesn't have any power is not going to hold any water.

Incedentally, there's a difference between the Commonwealth of Nations (54 member countries, with the Queen as the appointed head. A new monarch does not inherit the position) and the Commonwealth Realms (16 nations with the Queen as the head of state). Canada is part of both.

And I stand by the Queen having no power in Canada. All she is is a rubber stamp, enacting the will of the elected parliament - hence what a Constitutional Monarchy is. She can't actually dictate anything directly.

On topic, joining the Commonwealth of Nations does not mean you have to take the Queen as your sovereign. India specifically said they would not do that when they joined, saying they would see (then King George) as a "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth." 5 member nations even have their own royalty apart from England.

That's a good point. And there are several groups in the UK and around the Commonwealth which are pushing for greater co-operation, but without the integration that the EU demands.
I am not sure what the attitude to accepting new members is, but it's an idea that is starting to gain weight. The Edinburgh Declaration might be the factor that limits membership, I don't know the exact wording but it requires a legal, constitutional or hereditary link to another member.

While the current queen is the Head of the Commonwealth, she is not necessarily the head of state of any state in the Commonwealth. Tonga has its own royalty, for example. There are some advantages to being a member, such as the ability to actually have a voice on the international stage, which is why Mozambique petitioned for membership, even though they had no historical connection to the British Empire, which is where all the other members came from originally. Rwanda later did the same, also with no previous connection. One country in the UN has almost zero influence unless you're big & powerful or on the Security council. One member of a 54-country free association, on the other hand, is not one you push around just because you can.
As for the Edinburgh Declaration, there is always the option of special circumstances, or whatever they call it. What it means in practice is that you should be a democracy, have relatively transparent political processes, and agree to abide by the rules of the Commonwealth. If you decide you don't want to, you can voluntarily leave, or they may kick you out. There's no real compulsion to stay, it's done because it's a good idea to stay: the costs of membership are low, the benefits are small but there, and the ability to potentially get a small power bloc on your side is a nice hole card.


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