How should a small nation like Scotland engage with Europe — the Nordic countries have experienced every conceivable variant on the theme. Denmark (since 1973), Sweden and Finland (since 1995) are all members of the EU. Iceland and Norway are not EU members but belong to the EEA – the European Economic Area that underpins the EU. Denmark’s devolved governments in the Faroes and Greenland are neither members of the EU nor EEA and only Finland has joined both the EU and the Euro zone.Travel is made easier by the fact that all Nordic nations – whether EU members or not – are part of the Schengen free travel zone. Currencies change at every border yet trade for most Nordic nations is with one another.
Inevitably though this is not the whole story. Behind the national picture, attitudes to Europe and the EU in the Nordic region are as complex as anywhere else in Europe, fractured by differences between political parties, economic sectors and social groups and between town and country, core and periphery. Maybe there is something for Scotland to learn.