Finland: Now, the Seven and a Half

Locked in a virtual Russian bear hug by geography and two valiant but lost wars, the Finns have kept a delicate independence by what President Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, 60, has called the ability "to live on fine distinctions." Last week, in one of the Finns' finest distinctions yet, representatives of Western Europe's economic Outer Seven gathered in Helsinki's Smolna Palace to sign a treaty with Finland creating the Finland Association—a legal fiction that enables Finland to be a part of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and share in the benefits of its lower trade barriers without joining it,...

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