• 2009-03-25
I have been watching the cat-fight between the Estonian politicians lately and a mind-boggling idea has laid root in my head… What if... Estonia would join Finland in a confederate manner, taking over 100 percent Finnish legislation, currency, etc. etc.?

Why? Why do companies merge? Why does 1+1 sometimes make 3?

Well, to start with, Estonia and Finland lie very close to one another. A merely 80km of sea separates the two capitals Tallinn and Helsinki. Most of Northern Finland has a very arctic climate, making it quite difficult to deal with agriculture. The Finnish and Estonian languages are merely dialects of Finno-Ugric. The temperament of the two nations is very similar. There are ca 5-6 million Finns and about 1 million Estonians in their respective countries. Estonia has a lot warmer climate, a lot of agriculture suitable land and very few people. Estonia has a very high governing cost, very young political culture (mostly missing culture) and a very limited leadership potential. Both countries have a Russian speaking minority.

The two countries would make one new entity that would resemble Sweden in economy and geography. The two countries would finish off the possibility for Russia to ever expand towards the west again.

Why is this a crazy thought? Well, the Finns are a lot more advanced in economy (Nokia etc;), politcs and culture. The Estonians think they have the higher culture and are of course the smartest of all. So this would exclude any direct merger of the countries. But a federation would give Estonia full autonomy. Both countries would join one federal government that is located in Helsinki and the Estonian language would be one of the official languages of the land. Both countries already share the melody of the national anthem, there will be some conflict about who is the big brother since it is clear that the Estonian establishment will have a weaker starting point in that situation. They would have to compete from a bit weaker position.

But think again. Estonia is too small to ever guarantee its inhabitants a standard of living that suits a European country. The cost of governing is very high from the local to country level. There are just too few taxpayers, no matter how high the taxes will be. The political culture has not evolved according to Western European standards. You can clearly see primitive conclusions and simple solutions that resemble the Soviet past. Estonia's neighbor, Russia, is using that weakness every day against Estonia.

Uniting the two countries would give a minimum critical mass of taxpayers for the country to rise to new levels. Both countries lie in the EU, Finland has adapted the euro, Estonia is about to adapt it. The only difference is Estonia's membership in NATO. But that can be corrected.

The purpose of this posting is to create the thought process. Please think with me and maybe there would be a way to proceed?

Yakov Shebelev

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