Elite Ambiguity towards Internationalization? The Case of Norway

Tyrgve Gulbrandsen


Norway has traditionally had an ambiguous relation to international cooperation. Norway has on the one hand been an active member of United Nations and NATO and has signed several international treaties and agreements.  On the other hand Norwegian voters have in national referenda twice turned down government proposals to join the European Union. At both occasions a majority of the elites were in favor of EU membership. Recent electoral studies have demonstrated that voters’ support for EU has been further reduced since the latest referendum. An elite survey conducted in 2015 showed that also among the elites backing of EU has been reduced, particularly among top leaders within private business. Findings reported in this article do not indicate that the dominant elites are particularly concerned with the lack of codetermination accompanying the non-member status.  The decreasing endorsement of EU among Norwegian elites is probably a result of a pragmatic assessment that Norway manages quite well as a non-member and of a certainty that negative opinions in the population forbid any attempt to take up the EU-issue again.


Elite attitudes towards internationalization, ambiguity, EU, international treaties

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2017.3S.03


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X