Non-EU NATO members in the post-Cold War European security structures: a case study of Norway

  • Sunniva Tofte

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


With the end of the Cold War the roles in European security were reassigned, with NATO and the EU gradually emerging as the two main European security actors. Due to the increasing overlap in memberships between the two organisations, the lack of a clear division of labour is not particularly problematic for the majority of European countries. The non-EU European NATO members, however, have been concerned that they might witness important security issues being transferred from a NATO to an EU domain of consultation and decision-making, and thus moved out of their scope of influence. Their concern is an EU which increasingly takes over responsibilities in the areas where these countries are situated geographically but which is less committed to their concerns, coupled with a NATO/US which increasingly delegates these regional responsibilities to the EU, where the US increasingly deals with the EU directly and as a collective, and where NATO's primacy in the European security architecture is reduced.

The role of the non-EU NATO countries in the evolving EU security and defence structures will be an important ‘litmus tests’ for the ESDP project and NATO-EU relations, and a ‘benchmarks’ against which the temperature in the transatlantic relationship can be measured. For the EU the non-member question is of considerable symbolic importance. For the non-EU Allies it also has significant practical implications.

This thesis uses the case of Norway as a tool for analysing this dilemma. Norway has encountered particular difficulties in adjusting to the post-Cold War realities and to her role as a non-EU Ally, which have been accentuated by a distinct set of historical, idea- and interest-based factors. This thesis seeks to generate conclusions about ESDP, the EU-NATO relationship and thus the dynamics underpinning the post-Cold War evolution of European security structures, through examining a country caught in the middle of the two organisations' gravitational forces, using a methodology mobilising theory based on interests and systems as well as on ideas, discourse and cultural constructs.

Date of Award13 Jul 2005
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJolyon Howorth (Supervisor)

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