|The Baltic Union|
|Motto: For The Union - With the times|
|Anthem: The Song of The Crown|
|Largest Cities.|| Stockholm, Oslo, Göteborg|
|Official languages||English and Esperanto|
|Recognized regional languages||Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian|
- Prime Minister
| Parliamentary Monarchy|
Oscar III Bernadotte
|Formation||March 11th, 2001 - September 14th, 2005|
- 2009 census
| 31.2 million+|
- Per capita
| 2009 estimate|
|HDI (2009)||.967 (very high) (2nd)|
|Currency||Baltic Krone (ßk) (BK)|
|Drives on the||Right|
The Baltic Union is a nation that emerged as a result of the union of the former nations of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Denmark. It was established as a parliamentary monarchy ruled by the union of the royal houses of Sweden and Norway after being voted for by the people of both countries referendum on March 11, 2001. Later in 2003, Iceland requested the inclusion in the union and ultimately the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were incorporated on September 14, 2005. After a short republican period, Denmark join the Union on January 1, 2007.
History Before the UnionEdit
Main article: History of the Baltic Union
History of the UnionEdit
In the early 21st century, there existed among the nations of Sweden and Norway a feeling of unity increasingly clear. The political differences of the early 20th century were a thing of the past and the cultural and economic reasons favor the approach. The political changes that shook the world in the last years of the 20th century, led to popular pressure and political path to integration in Sweden and Norway to secure its economic potential and ensure their security. The 1998 Barents War was the final push to start working on integration.
The road was marked and the only problem was finding appropriate ways. At the end of 2000 the royal houses of Sweden and Norway, with the consent of parliament, agreed to amend their lines of succession so that the two crowns would fall in Karl Oscar Bernadotte, a descendant of both families. In this way, once unified the crowns of Sweden and Norway was given the green light to the formation of The Baltic Union. On March 11, 2001, both nations approved the unification referendum
From the outset, The Baltic Union continued the policy of freedom, democracy, neutrality and the welfare state that had characterized Sweden and Norway throughout the 20th century. However, growing concerns about security and external threats made since 2001 to present The Baltic Union has strongly reinforced its military structure in both human and technical resources
Since it was founded in 2001 The Baltic Union always had spirit of integration, so that talks for integration with other Baltic and Nordic nations were maintained from day one. The voluntary integration in Iceland in 2003 opened the door to enlargement.
In 2005, the old dream of integrating the Baltic republics of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia became a reality after the people forced their pro-Soviet government to resign and call a referendum on integration. USSR reluctantly admitted the integration to avoid escalation of tension in the area.
The republican government of Denmark had rejected the Union in the early times, but after a popular campaign in favor of the integration, Denmark entered the Union in 2007 giving the Union its actual size.
The Baltic Union is divided into four major geographical units and eight minor units (regions):
- The Artic Islands (Region of Greenland and Islands Region)
- Scandinavia (Region of Denmark, Region of Norway and Region of Sweden)
- The Eastern Baltic Regions (Region of Estonia, Region of Latvia and Region of Lithuania)
- The Antartic Territories
Baltic Union's complex geography and the wide distribution of the population has led to a number of conventions for it subdivisions. These have changed somewhat over time, and various reforms are still under continuous consideration.
Since the beginning of the formation of the Union, there has been a big controversy over the state organization and specially the role of the traditional fylker. On the one hand those who thought they were too small units that should be grouped and another who felt that the success of the administrative organization of a state is in close proximity to citizens. After long debates the winning idea was that the traditional fylker were the essence of participatory democracy in the Union and the construction of the new state should be put on the fylker. Although there are territorial divisions bringing together several counties, called landsdeler (regions), these divisions do not have any legal entity. The regional division is also used to coordinate the provision of certain services that by their nature are to be shared by several counties. (Some police services, military organization, electricity or gas grids, etc.)
The political administration of Baltic Union takes place at four levels:
- Kongeriket (kingdom), covering all of metropolitan Union including its integral overseas areas of Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Bouvet Island.
- Landsdeler, (region).
- Fylke, (county). These derive in part from divisions that preceded the former nations constitutions but have been reformed in 2005. The fylker also function as constituencies during elections for Parliament.
- Kommune, (municipality).
- Dependencies, Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island on Antarctica which both are subject to the Antarctic Treaty System.
According to the Act of Union, which was adopted on 11 March 2001 and inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and other modern constitutions, The Baltic Union is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Act of Union, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.
The political duties of the Monarch are strictly representative and ceremonial such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch is commander in chief of the The Baltic Union Armed Forces and serves as chief diplomatic representative abroad and a symbol of unity.
The Council of State is formally convened by the reigning monarch. It consists of a Prime Minister and his council, formally appointed by the King. Parliamentarism entails that the cabinet must not have the parliament against it, and that the appointment by the King is a formality. The council must have the confidence of The Baltic Union legislative body, known as the Union Parliament. In practice, the monarch will ask the leader of a parliamentary block that has a majority in the Union Parliament to form a government. After elections resulting in no clear majority to any party or coalition, the leader of the party most likely to be able to form a government is appointed Prime Minister. The Prime Minister designates the rest of the members of the Council of State who are then appointed by the King. He directs the activities of the government as a whole. The Prime Minister can also designate various vice presidents (although it is not mandatory). The work of the Government is leaded and coordinated by the Office of The Prime Minister
Legislative branchEditThe Union Parliament is the national legislative assembly of The Baltic Union. The Union Parliament is a unicameral assembly with 379 members who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years. It is located in the Union Parliament Building, (former swedish parliament home) on the island of Helgeandsholmen, in Stockholm.
The legislative procedure goes through five stages. First a bill is introduced to parliament either by a member of government or, in the case of a private member's bill, by any individual representative. Parliament will refer the bill to the relevant standing committee, where it will be subject for detailed consideration in the committee stage. The first reading takes place when parliament debates the recommendation from the committee, and will make a vote. If the bill is dismissed, the procedure ends. The second reading takes place at least three days after the first reading, in which parliament debates the bill again. A new vote is taken, and if successful, the bill is submitted to the King. If parliament comes to a different conclusion in the second reading, a third reading will be held at least three days later, repeating the debate and vote, and may adopt the amendments from the second reading or finally dismiss the bill. Once the bill has reached the King, the bill must be signed by the King and countersigned by the Prime Minister. It then becomes Union Law from the date stated in the act or decided by the government.
Judiciary branch and law enforcementEditThe Baltic Union uses a civil law system where laws are created and amended in Union Parliament and the system regulated through the Courts of Justice of The Baltic Union. It consists of the Supreme Court of 18 permanent judges and a Chief Justice, appellate courts, city and district courts, and conciliation councils. The judiciary, although traditionally a third branch of government, is independent of executive and legislative branches. While the Prime Minister nominates Supreme Court Chief Justice for office, their nomination must be approved by Union Parliament and formally confirmed by the King. Judiciary is exercised by professional judges and magistrates. Judges have security of tenure and may not be promoted (or demoted) without their consent. The charges in the Appellate Courts and Supreme Court members are elected from among the judges who meet the minimum required by law. There are 15 Appellate Courts through the nation. (10 in Scandinavia, 4 in The Eastern Baltic Provinces and 1 in The Artic Islands.)
The public prosecutors, on the other hand, takes order from the Minister of Justice. The status of public prosecutors and their ties to government are frequently topics of debate.
Law enforcement in Baltic Union is carried out by the Royal Union Gendarmerie and the Union Police Service at the national level, and at the local level every municipality is able to maintain their own municipal police. Only certain, designated police officers at the national level have the power to conduct criminal investigations, and such investigations are supervised by investigative magistrates.
Currently, Baltic Union has one of the lowest crime rate in the world.
Foreign relations and militaryEdit
Foreign relations of The Baltic UnionEdit
Main article: Foreign Relations of Baltic Union
Since its formation, the Baltic Union has tried to maintain good international relations that have traditionally kept the old countries of Sweden, Norway and Iceland. By this way Baltic Union diplomacy has worked to maintain its status of neutrality, although in recent years foreign policy of the Baltic Union has held positions increasingly assertive in the defense of freedom and human rights. This shift in foreign policy has led to an increase in diplomatic activity and military presence abroad. In general, relations with democratic countries tend to be good.
Baltic Union is a member of:
Military of The Baltic UnionEdit
Until the formation of The Union, traditionally in the old countries the military base was made up of conscripts. From the outset, the new government realized that the security of The Union needed a fully professionalized armed forces. With a population slightly more than 21 million people, professional armed forces should be based on quality more than quantity. The technological superiority of The Union guarantees the most advanced levels of equipment and armaments.
Getting the troops needed to maintain the professionalism of the armed forces is no easy task. So the staff is well paid and enjoy many other social benefits both in their working lives and in their integration into civilian life. Currently, the armed forces are composed of 385.000 troops allocated between different branches of the armed forces. Of these, 180,000 are foreigners who get their nationality after a period of service. With the current restrictive immigration laws, immigrants can reach the nationality after a service period in the armed forces, so this is a good way to get the necessary troops.
The Armed Forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defence and the Commander-in-Chief is the King.
Main article: Economy in The Baltic Union
The Baltic Union enjoys one of the highest GDP per-capita in the world. The Baltic Union maintain the second place in the world UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).
The Baltic Union economy is an example of a mixed economy, a prosperous capitalist welfare state featuring a combination of free market activity and state ownership in certain key sectors. The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic energy and military ones. Baltic Union is a major shipping nation and has one of the world largest merchant fleet, with 1,924 Union-owned merchant vessels.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, coal, hydropower, fish, forest, and minerals. Baltic Union has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. The Union welfare state makes public health care free, and parents have 12 months paid parental leave. The income that the state receives from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production and the substantial and well-managed income related to this sector. Baltic Union has a very low unemployment rate, currently 1.1% The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in the Union are among the highest in the world. The egalitarian values of the Union society ensure that the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies is much smaller than in comparable western economies. This is also evident in Baltic Union´s low Gini coefficient.
The standard of living in Baltic Union is among the highest in the world. International organizations judge the Union to be one of the the world's most well-functioning and stable country.
Economy in Baltic Union is an export-oriented economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Union's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 3 percent of GDP and employment.
In terms of structure, the Union industry is characterized by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector.
The Baltic Union is one of the largest oil exporter (and producer) on Earth, producing around 3 million barrels of oil/day, and one of the largest producer of natural gas, having significant gas reserves in the North Sea. Recnt investigations in the Barents Sea have shown that the Union can get a huge ammount of oil in the region. The Baltic Union also possesses some of the world's largest potentially exploitable coal reserves on earth. With this starting point, the energy in the Union has undergone many changes in recent years.
The global economy is increasingly dependent on oil, especially the more powerful nations. However, oil is still important to the millions of people around the world. Oil production of The Baltic Union is intended almost entirely for export as fuel. Only a fraction is used for fabricaión petroleum compounds.Although domestic consumption of natural gas is higher than oil, most production is exported to other countries.
In the late 90's, social pressure motivated by environmental awareness led to a race to find alternative ways to produce needed energy. The birth of the Union in 2001 was a tremendous support for energy research and is intended to give a major boost for the nation. In fact, since the birth of The Baltic Union to this day the nation's electricity consumption has almost doubled while CO2 emissions have been reduced to less than one-tenth taking into account a social environment that traditionally had rejected nuclear energy.
This miracle has been possible using the mix renewable - coal - hydrogen. The Baltic Union is a global leader in carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as in hydrogen fuel cells. Vehicles with combustion engines are now prohibited (except for military) and the automotive industry based on hydrogen is leading the world.
- Coal in The Baltic Union
- Electricity in The Baltic Union
- Integrated Coal Zero-Emission Plants in The Baltic Union
- Integrated Syngas Zero-Emission Plants in The Baltic Union
- Turbine City
- Hydrogen Economy in the Baltic Union
- Fuel Cell Technologies in The Baltic Union
- Northern Gas Grid
Due to the extension, low population density, orography, narrow shape and long coastlines, public transport in Baltic Union are less developed than in other high developed countries, especially outside the cities. As such, Baltic Union has old water transport traditions. Sice the formation of the Union in 2001, Ministry of Transport and Communications has in recent years implemented policies to encourage rail, road and air transport. There are numerous state owned subsidiaries in order to develop the country's infrastructure and the government is encouraging private investment with toll highways and railway private licenses.
Internal tasks related to public transport and some roads have been delegated to the counties and municipalities.
Baltic union has a road network of 694,310 km of wich 373,245 are paved and 9,704 motorway. There are four tiers of road routes; Motorway, national, county and municipal with only the motorways and national roads numbered en route.
The Union main railway network consists of 30,125 kilometres of standard gauge lines, of which 12,214 kilometres is double track and 460 kilometres high-speed rail (>300 km/h) while 57% is electrified at the standard centroeuropean 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC. There is about 4,000 kilometres of private railways.
Aviation has become an important passenger transport mode in scandinavia since the 1960s. Aircraft are a common used mode of transport on longer distances, and some regional routes are all among the ten largest in Europe. With the difficult terrain and lack of rail transport, regional airline travel provides quick travel within the region or to the capital. Since the formation of the Union in 2001 and with the new periferic regions added later, a strong airline network becames necessary to vertebrate the new nation.
Baltic Union is one of the largest beneficial shipowning country, with 6% of the world's fleet; though a high portion of these are registered in flags of convenience, Baltic Union has nearly 22 million gross tonnes of ships under its flag.
Main article: Education in The Baltic Union
Children aged 1–5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten. Between the ages of 6 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school. After completing the 9th grade, about 90% of the students continue with a three-year upper secondary school, which can lead to both a job qualification or entrance eligibility to university. The school system is largely financed by taxes.
The Union´s government treats public and independent schools equally by introducing education vouchers in 2002. Anyone can establish a for-profit school and the municipality must pay new schools the same amount as municipal schools get. School lunch is free for all students in The Baltic Union which usually includes one or two different kinds of hot meals, a meal for vegetarians, salad bar, fruit, bread, and milk and/or water for drink. Some schools, especially kindergartens and middle schools, even serve breakfast for free to those who want to eat before school starts.
Higher education in The Baltic Union is offered by a range of universities and collegues. Acceptance is offered after finishing upper secondary school with general study competence.
The Baltic Union is one of the nations with higher levels of tertiary education degree holders. Public education is virtually free, regardless of nationality, with an academic year with two semesters, from August to December and from January to June.
Science and technology Edit
Being an advanced industrial nation, research and development plays a key role for economic growth as well as for society at large. Altogether, the public and the private sector in the Baltic Union allocate nearly four per cent of GDP to research & development (R&D) per year, which makes the Baltic Union one of the countries that invest most in R&D in terms of percentage of GDP. The standard of Baltic Union research is high and the Baltic Union is a world leader in a number of fields. Baltic Union tops Europe in comparative statistics both in terms of research investments as a percentage of GDP as well as in the number of published scientific works per capita.
Though a relatively small country, the Baltic Union has long been at the forefront of research and development. For several decades the Baltic Union government has prioritized scientific and R&D activities. This strong engagement has helped make the country a leading country in terms of innovation. For many years, the Baltic Union has been a leading player among advanced countries in terms of its investments in and use of advanced technology. In international comparison, high-technology manufacturing is relatively large in all high-technology segments, and particularly in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, military and energy.
- The Baltic Union space program: Union Space Center
Main article: Culture in the Baltic Union
Baltic Union has many authors, painters and sculptors of worldwide recognition including several Nobel Prizes.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, Sweden and Norway were seen as international leaders in what is now referred to as the "sexual revolution", with gender equality having particularly been promoted. At the present time, the number of single people is one of the highest in the world. The early Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) reflected a liberal view of sexuality, including scenes of love making that caught international attention, and introduced the concept of the "Swedish sin".
Baltic Union has also become very liberal towards homosexuality, as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as Show Me Love, which is about two young lesbians in the small Swedish town of Åmål. Since 1 May 2009, Baltic Union repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage, Baltic Union also offers domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Cohabitation by couples of all ages, including teenagers over 15 as well as elderly couples, is widespread.
Baltic Union people have an egalitarian outlook. Any form of elitism is likely to meet strong criticism. They generally express themselves in very modest terms, especially when it comes to compliments and praises. They are "scrupulous about honesty in communication, often to the point of pointing out the negatives in their own proposals in greater detail than the positives."
The combination of embracing capitalist values and the old viking culture has produced an atmosphere that encourages hard work and honesty. Baltic Union has one of the lowest levels of corruption in the whole world.
Environmentalism and animal protection are important values in Baltic Union.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Baltic Union 1st in its Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Freedom of the press in Baltic Union dates back to the Norwegian and Sweden constitutions of the 10th century. The Baltic Union media is highly privately owned and self-regulated; however there is a press support. Press support is a Baltic Union state subsidy available for newspapers and online media. The subsidy is twofold; the first part is a direct subsidy to the newspapers by subscribers. The other subsidy is that newspaper are subject to no sales tax (as are books).
Main article: Sports in the Baltic Union