Norway’s foreign relations
Magrete Sřvik




  1. International politics after the Second World War:

-         The cold war

-         European integration


  1. Norway and NATO


  1. Norway and EC/EU


  1. Norway and the wider world


  1. Summary



The cold war


-         after the Second World War: power vacuum and emerging competition between the United States and the Soviet Union


-         1949: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) founded


-         1955: The Warszawa alliance founded


-         Nuclear weapons and weapon race


-         1950-53: The Korean War


-         1962: The Cuba-crisis


-         1985: Mikhail Gorbatsjov gains power in the Soviet Union and launches a policy of reform: glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring of the economy). Disarmament and a new open foreign policy.


-         1989: the velvet revolution in Eastern Europe


-         1991: The Soviet Union collapses and the Warszawa alliance is dissolved.


-         NATO persists and assumes a new role: not only defence but also intervention in order to solve regional conflicts.



European integration:


-         1951: Agreement between France, Germany, the Benelux countries and Italy on economic cooperation (the so-called steel- and coal union)


-         1957: the Rome treaty: further integration of the continental market. The “four freedoms” introduced: free movement of people, services, goods and capital


-         1961: Great Britain and Denmark apply for membership (but France’s president Charles de Gaulle blocks British entrance and puts a halt to further enlargement) (1962: Norway applies for membership)


-         1967: the European Community (EC) established: some common political institutions


-         Other European countries again apply for membership and de Gaulle again blocks enlargement (a new open door’s policy from 1969)


-         1972: Norway votes against membership in EC


-         1973: Denmark and Great Britain enter the community


-         1960: the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) established (initially Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Portugal, Switzerland and Austria were members)


-         1994: a new agreement on economic cooperation between EC and EFTA: the European Economic Area (EEA)


-         1993: the Maastricht Treaty: EC becomes the European Union (the 1990s: further enlargement and negotiations on membership with several Eastern European countries)


-         After the end of the cold war: towards a common European defence policy?



Norway and NATO


-         Security cooperation in Scandinavia? Negotiations in 1949 – no results


-         1949: Norway becomes member of NATO


-         Norway’s self-imposed restraints as NATO-member: no foreign forces permanently stationed and no nuclear weapon stored in Norway


-         Norway: important role in NATO’s intelligence


-         1961: the Socialist People’s party founded in opposition to Norwegian membership in NATO



Norway and EC/EU


-         Customs union in Scandinavia? Negotiations from 1947, but no results


-         1952: Nordic passport union


-         1954: common Nordic labour market


-         1953: the Nordic Council established


-         Norway becomes member of EFTA (European Free Trade Area) from 1960


-         1962: Norway applies (for the first time) for membership in what was to become the European Community (EC)


-         1972: Norway votes no (in a referendum) to membership in EC


-         Norwegian arguments against EC: the need to protect domestic industry and agriculture, maintain national control with natural resources, political sovereignty and popular rule


-         1992: Norway applies for membership


-         1994: new referendum, negative result (much the same arguments as in 1972)





-         After the Second World War: Norway from neutrality to membership in NATO


-         Norway’s “low profile” strategy within NATO in order not to provoke the Soviet Union: no NATO-forces permanently stationed in Norway and not nuclear weapon on Norwegian soil. The intelligence service: Norway’s main contribution to the alliance


-         Norway’s economic interests: free-trade combined with protection of fisheries, small domestic industry and agriculture


-         Scepticism towards European integration: fear of loosing political and economic self-government


-         Norway: a hesitant internationalist in both economic and security policies