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Kalmar Union
Flag of the Kalmar Union

Coat of Arms of Kalmar Union Mid

Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: For The Union - With the times
Anthem: The Song of The Crown
World-Kalmar Union svg
Capital. Stockholm
Largest Cities. Stockholm, Oslo, Goteborg, Copenhagen, Helsinki
Official languages Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish
Recognized regional languages Faroese, Kven and Sami
Demonym
Government
 - King

 - Prime Minister
Parliamentary Monarchy
Christian III of Kalmar Union

Ann Nilsson
Formation March 11th, 1993 - September 14th, 1999
Population
 - 2013 census
.
33.2 million+
GDP (Nominal)
 - Total
 - Per capita
2013 estimate
$1,963 billion
$59,126
Gini 25.1%
HDI (2009) Green Arrow Up Darker .967 (very high) (2nd)
Currency
Kalmar Krone (KK) (K)
Drives on the Right
Internet TLD .bu
Calling Code +46


Kalmar Union is a nation that emerged as a result of the union of the former crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and the later incorporation of Iceland and Finland. It was established as a federal parliamentary monarchy ruled by a King or a Queen with constitutional limited powers but still retaining an important role.


History

History Before the Union

Main article: History of Kalmar Union

History of the Union

During the 70s of the 20th century a kind of "scandinavian nationalism" grew among societies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This "Scandinavism" was encouraged from the respective crowns after the revolutionary events in the UK, and to some extent from the Scandinavian governments who saw fear the rise of socialist parties. In late 1985 a large group of intellectuals, artists and renowned professionals from Denmark, Norway and Sweden published the "Manifesto for the Unification" urging the leaders of the three countries to explore possible ways to unification. Despite the public outcry and promises made from the governments, the political classes of the three countries did not reach any agreement, partly because neither party leaders in the three countries was willing to give up their share of power.

Given the political impasse, using their great popular support and surprising the leaders of the respective governments, on February 3, 1987, the Queen of Denmark with the Kings of Norway and Sweden appeared in a unprecedented joint statement to tell society that they were ready to lead the change process. In the same statement was told that they would be willing to abdicate their thrones in favor of a single heir who would be depository of the three crowns. Since then, the three Royal Houses would work to find the best candidate as soon as possible. This statement was criticized by the major political parties in the three countries that accused the Rulers of exceeding their constitutional mandate. Parliament of Sweden even proposed a vote of condemnation that never took place because more than a million people demonstrated against, in the biggest demonstration in the history of Sweden that took place on May 5, 1987. Encouraged by the overwhelming support, the Rulers of the three countries dissolved their parliaments and parliaments of unity were formed with the aim of accelerating the process of unification.

In the summer of 1988 was presented to the public the "Act of Union" which would become the the new constitution and gave the Sovereign powers over those who held their predecessors. Monarchy had proved to be an institution worthy of support and affection of citizens being above party interests of political leaders. The three national parliaments passed the Act of Union and finally on March 11, 1989 Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Harald V of Norway and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden named heir to Prince Joachin of Denmark (the youngest son of Queen Margrethe) and immediately abdicated. Prince Joachin ascended the throne as Christian III of Kalmar Union.

From that moment the King appointed a parliament composed of representative members of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish societies that was responsible for defining the legislative body of the new Union. A government that emerged from that parliament immediately assumed the defense and international representation of the Union and oversaw the policies of the governments of the three countries in order to be agree with the interests of the Union. Finally, in late January 1990, the Fundamental Laws of the Union were drawn up and were approved by Parliament and the King. The King dissolved parliament and called elections which were held on April 23, 1990 resulting in the first parliament and later the first government elected by the citizens of the Union.

Meanwhile in Iceland society watched with interest the unification process while pro-integration groups were becoming stronger. The result was that the Icelandic government, at the request of the people, formally requested join the Union on September 27, 1990 and was accepted immediately becoming part of the Union on January 1, 1991.

Since its formation, the Union has had clear its intention to become a leading player in international politics. To get this goal government worked from the beginning to strengthen its diplomatic and military capabilities. The success of the Union and the integration process became an burst for the economy and after the first three years of the Union, GDP increased by 23% over that founding member had separately.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent wars that took place, the population of Finland that until then had resisted the expansion of Scandinavian nationalism started watching with interest the idea of joining the Union. The strengthening of Russia after the first years of chaos and its ambitious regional policy prompted the pro-unification party to won the 1995 Finnish elections. A year later a referendum asking for integration was held and it was won by "Yes" supporters by a large majority. As a result, the Finnish government formally requested join Kalmar Union. The integration took place on January 1, 1997.

Geography

Attending to its geography, Kalmar Union is divided into four major geographical units and seven minor units (regions):

  • Artic Islands
  • Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden)
  • Finland(North Finland, South Finland)
  • Antartic Territories

Physical geography

Main articles: Physical Geography of Kalmar Union, Climate of Kalmar Union, Wildlife of Kalmar Union

Political geography

Kalmar 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 or counties. 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 fylker (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 Kalmar 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.

See: Kalmar Union Administrative Divisions

Politics

According to the Act of Union, Kalmar 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.

Although the 2001 Act of Union grants important executive powers to the king, these are almost always exercised by the Council of State in the name of the King. Parliamentary practice has replaced the direct appointment of the Government by the King, who use to accept what is proposed by the parliament. Nevertheless, the reserve powers vested in the Monarch by the Act of Union are significants. This become very important the role of the Monarchy.


TBU Government Building

The Baltic Union Government Palace. Stockholm.

Executive branch

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 Kalmar 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 branch

The 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.
Union Senate assembly hall

Union Senate Hall

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 enforcement

TBU Supreme Court building

Supreme Court Building. Oslo.

Kalmar 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 Kalmar 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 Finland 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 Kalmar 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, Kalmar Union has one of the lowest crime rate in the world.

Foreign relations and military

Foreign relations of Kalmar Union

Main article: Foreign Relations of Kalmar Union

Since its formation, Kalmar Union has tried to maintain good international relations similar to those that the old Nordic countries have traditionally kept. By this way Kalmar Union diplomacy has worked to maintain its status of neutrality, although in recent years foreign policy of the Kalmar 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.

Kalmar Union is a member of:

Military of Kalmar Union

Main article: Kalmar Union Armed Forces, World Military Contractors (Altverse)

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 Kalmar Union needed a fully professionalized armed forces. With a population slightly more than 31 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 almost 400.000 troops allocated between different branches of the armed forces. Of these, 120,000 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.

Economy

Main article: Economy in Kalmar Union

Kalmar Union enjoys one of the highest GDP per-capita in the world. The Union maintain the second place in the world UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).

Union's economy is an example of a mixed economy, a prosperous 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. Kalmar 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. Kalmar 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. Kalmar Union has a very low unemployment rate, currently 2.1% 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 Kalmar Union´s low Gini coefficient.

The standard of living in Kalmar 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 Kalmar 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.

See also:

Energy

Kalmar 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. Kalmar 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 Kalmar 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
TBU Hydroplant Salten

Hydro Powerplant in Salten

.

In the early 90's, social pressure motivated by environmental awareness led to a race to find better and more ecologic ways to produce needed energy. The birth of the Union in 1991 was a tremendous support for energy research and is intended to give a major boost for the nation. In fact, since the birth of Kalmar Union to this day the nation's electricity consumption has almost triplicate while CO2 emissions have been reduced to less than 25% taking into account a social environment that traditionally had rejected nuclear energy.

This miracle has been possible using the mix renewable - coal - hydrogen. Kalmar 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 Union automotive industry based on hydrogen is leading the world.

See also:

Transport

Due to the extension, low population density, orography, narrow shape and long coastlines, public transport in Kalmar Union are less developed than in other high developed countries, especially outside the cities. As such, Kalmar Union has old water transport traditions. Sice the formation of the Union in 1991, 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.

Road transport

See: Road transport in Kalmar Union

Kalmar Union has a road network of 794,310 km of wich 523,245 are paved and 14,704 motorway. There are four tiers of road routes; Motorway, national, county and municipal with only the motorways and national roads numbered en route.

Rail transport

See: Union National Rail Administration

The Union main railway network consists of 40,125 kilometres of standard gauge lines, of which 18,214 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.

Air transport

See: Air transport in Kalmar Union

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.

Water transport

See: Water transport in Kalmar Union

Kalmar Union is one of the largest beneficial shipowning country, with 8% of the world's fleet; though a portion of these are registered in flags of convenience, Union has nearly 27 million gross tonnes of ships under its flag.

Demography

Education

Main article: Education in Kalmar Union

Most pre-tertiary education is arranged at municipal or county level and the school system is largely financed by taxes. Union´s government treats public and independent schools equally by introducing education vouchers in 1999. School lunch is free for all students in Kalmar 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.

Children aged 1–5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten if desired, nevertheless pre-school education is rare compared with other western countries and formal education is usually started at the age of 6. Primary school takes normally six years and lower secondary school three years.

The flexible curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education and Research. Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16. After lower secondary school, graduates may either enter the workforce directly, or apply to trade schools or gymnasiums (upper secondary schools). Trade schools offer a vocational Education: Approximately 40% of an age group choose this path after the lower secondary school. Academically oriented gymnasiums have higher entrance requirements and specifically prepare for tertiary education. Graduation from either formally qualifies for tertiary education.

In tertiary education, two mostly separate and non-interoperating sectors are found: the profession-oriented polytechnics and the research-oriented universities. Education is free and living expenses are to a large extent financed by the government through student benefits. There are 50 universities and 70 polytechnics in the country. Some of Union universities are ranked as top universities in the world. The World Economic Forum ranks Union's tertiary education No. 1 in the world. Around 39% of residents have a tertiary degree. The proportion of foreign students is 5% of all tertiary enrollments while in advanced programs it is 9.3%.

More than 30% of tertiary graduates are in science-related fields. Forest improvement, materials research, energy, petroleum industry, environmental sciences, neural networks, low-temperature physics, fuel cells, brain research, biotechnology, genetic technology and communications showcase fields of study where Union researchers have had a significant impact.

Kalmar Union has a long tradition of adult education, and by the 2012 nearly two million Unions were receiving some kind of instruction each year. Forty percent of them did so for professional reasons. Adult education appeared in a number of forms, such as secondary evening schools, civic and workers' institutes, study centres, vocational course centres, and folk high schools. Study centres allowed groups to follow study plans of their own making, with educational and financial assistance provided by the state. Folk high schools are a distinctly Kalmar Union institution. Originating in Denmark in the nineteenth century, folk high schools became common throughout the region. Adults of all ages could stay at them for several weeks and take courses in subjects that ranged from handicrafts to economics.

Kalmar Union is highly productive in scientific research. In 2012, Union had the second most scientific publications per capita of the OECD countries.

Science and technology

Being an advanced industrial nation, research and development plays a key role for economic growth as well as for society at large. Though a relatively small country in population terms, Kalmar 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. Altogether, the public and the private sector in Kalmar Union allocate nearly four per cent of GDP to research & development (R&D) per year, which makes the Union one of the countries that invest most in R&D in terms of percentage of GDP. The standard of Kalmar Union research is high and is a world leader in a number of fields. Kalmar 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.

In international comparison, high-technology manufacturing is relatively large in all high-technology segments, and particularly in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, military and energy.

Culture

Main article: Culture in Kalmar Union

Kalmar Union has a rich intellectual and artistic heritage that has people internationally recognized in the field of arts (literature, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) and sciences (astronomy, physics, botany, zoology, etc.). It has numerous Nobel Prize winners in all fields. Culture of Kalmar Union is closely linked to the country's history and geography and is the heritage of those from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It combines indigenous heritage that has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws, with elements from European culture. From the last 70s and specially after the formation of the Union, authorities have promoted the traditional common Nordic culture and values as a way of strengthening social cohesion of the nation. Anyway, there are still cultural differences between Union's regions. In seeking to strengthen Nordic culture and national identity, traditional Norwegian culture has proved stronger for being less influenced by the mix of cultures, and has slowly been gaining importance in all walks of life to the point that now the Norwegian language is the most used in official circles.


Based in the Nordic heritage of egalitarianism, Kalmar Union has continued been a progressive country, which has adopted legislation and policies to support civil rights. Union people have an egalitarian outlook. They generally express themselves in very modest terms, especially when it comes to compliments and praises. They arescrupulous 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 private property values and the old viking culture has produced an atmosphere that encourages hard work and honesty. Kalmar Union has one of the lowest levels of corruption in the whole world.

Environmentalism and animal protection are important values in Kalmar Union too.

Media

Reporters Without Borders ranks Kalmar Union 1st in its Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Freedom of the press in the Union dates back to the Norwegian and Sweden constitutions of the 10th century. Kalmar Union media is mostly privately owned and self-regulated but still there are an important public participation; however there is a press support. Press support is a Kalmar 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).

See: Union Media Authority

Sports

Main article: Sports in Kalmar Union

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