Strong support for a Nordic state

A new survey of the Nordic nations shows that 42% of the residents favor the idea of creating a Nordic state - based on the Swiss federation of the semi-independence provincial cantons.

This comes as the annual, rotating session of the Nordic Council of ministers and parliamentarians taking place this time in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

The idea is to be presented in a new book called "A Federal Nordic State " - suggesting a joint Nordic government and parliament to give the Nordic states more of an influence on the international scene. The author says he's surprised over the high percentage of Nordic residents supporting the idea.

While some Nordic politicians salute the idea, others call it unrealistic.

The Nordic Council is only an advisory body made up of parliamentarians from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland and also with representatives of the semi-independent Faroe Islands and Greenland under Danish rule and the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea under Finnish rule.

Established over half a century ago and creating a labor market and pass port free zone long before the European Union became a reality, dreams of creating a joint Nordic defense died when some Nordic states remained neutral as Finland Sweden are still today while others joined the Western military alliance, NATO.

Some critics dismiss the council as a powerless structure, while others insist that Nordic co-operation is so important concerning trade, politics, legislation and culture that many simply take it for granted.

Sweden's Baltic neighbors, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are regular observers at the Nordic Council sessions, but have chosen not to apply for full membership even though all three are members of the Nordic Investment Bank and Estonia is a member of the Nordic Battalion for peace-keeping operations.

Meanwhile, the new Swedish school curriculum calls for more information about Sweden's Nordic neighbors - which is being applauded by the Swedish association promoting Nordic co-operation, "Föreningen Norden."