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Friendship can’t move mountain for Norway and Finland

NORWAY: The Norwegian government has resisted public pressure to offer a mountain summit to neighbouring Finland as part of its independence centenary celebrations.

Sunday 6 November 2016, 10:00AM


Mount Halti seen from Enontekio, Finland. Photo: AFP
Mount Halti seen from Enontekio, Finland. Photo: AFP

As a present to their Finnish neighbours, celebrating their independence since 1917, a group of Norwegians had proposed giving them the peak of the 1,361-metre high Mount Halti.

The gift would have been a neat way of correcting a geographical incongruity, as the Finnish border in the area is situated most of the way up the mountainside at an altitude of 1,324m.

A Facebook campaign to hand over the immovable present garnered 17,000 signatures.

But a legal roadbump brought the friendly scheme tumbling down, halting the Halti plan.

“This creative proposal has received a very positive response from the public,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a letter received by the major of Kafjord, in northern Norway, who was a protagonist in the mountainous gift.

Lemongrass House

“I welcome this and I see a clear sign that Norway and Finland have a close relationship,” Solberg continued, while adding that “border adjustments between countries raises complex legal issues.”

In this case the problems were insurmountable.

The lofty gift-giving idea ran up against Article 1 of the Norwegian constitution which stipulates that the kingdom of Norway is “indivisible and inalienable”.

“We will think of another worthy gift to celebrate the occasion of Finland centenary,” Solberg added.

Prior to its independence, the “Grand Duchy of Finland” was part of the Russian empire.  

 

 

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