Norway: Campaign to give mountain peak to Finland

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightAlamy
image captionAt the moment, the summit of Halti is 20m within Norway

An online campaign has been launched in Norway to give a mountain peak to neighbouring Finland as a present to mark the centenary of its independence in 2017.

Part of the Halti mountain is already in Finland - and forms its current highest point - but the peak is 20m (66ft) across the border inside Norwegian territory. Campaigners propose moving the border to "gift" the mountain's summit to Finland, and say that the change would be barely visible on the map.

"Not only will this be a great gift, but how many countries can brag about having given a mountain as a gift?" the campaign's Facebook page reads, adding: "Let us take Finland to new heights!" The "Halti as an anniversary gift" page has attracted more than 2,000 likes so far.

Bjorn Geirr Harsson, a now retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, says the idea occurred to him decades ago, and suspects that his son is behind the Facebook campaign. Mr Harsson says that while surveying the area from a plane in 1972 he "was taken aback by why on earth they had not received this peak", The Local website reports.

Many Finns commenting online welcome the novel idea as a sign of warm neighbourly relations. "What a noble idea - we will remember it for a thousand years!" says one person on the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper website. "Makes me smile!" writes another user. "We can have a wonderful celebration if this goes through. And it won't be a big loss for Norway."

Not everyone is impressed, though. "Too much paperwork," one user declares. "We'll have to renew all the maps, and count all the elks and wolves again." Perhaps inevitably, one person would like the option to exchange the gift for something a bit more profitable, asking: "Can we swap it for just one oil well?

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