The eight quills of the swan
in Scandinavian politics today
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This chapter focuses on the eight-quilled swan of Nordic co-operation depicted in the logo of the Nordic Council, representing the five nation states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and the three Home Rule territories of the Faeroes, Greenland and Åland. It offers a broad introduction to the changing geo-politics of the Nordic region and views co-operation and, more frequently in an historical light, conflict between the member states in a longitudinal perspective. Iceland is the only Nordic state never to have applied for membership of the European Community (EC)/European Union (EU) and, distinctively in the region, has a special relationship with the United States through its 1951 Defence Agreement. Of the three languages in the Nordic region that are not Indo-European, Finnish and Sámi belong to the same language family. The Scandinavian languages are most clearly related to the other Germanic languages, including English, German, Dutch and Frisian.

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