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Njord Wegge Obtains PhD on the Relationship between Norway and the EU in the Arctic

Njord Wegge(12.09.2013) Senior Research Fellow Njord Wegge yesterday successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between Norway and the EU in the High North.

In his thesis, entitled Norway: Small State, Arctic and Maritime Great Power? The relationship between Norway and the EU in the High North, Dr. Wegge is triggered by the the apparent paradox of how Norway, as a small state outside of the EU, seems to have influenced its much more powerful neighbor in important policy development processes within the Union. By focusing on the Arctic and maritime domain, Dr. Wegge asks how, why, and to what effect Norway has attempted to influence policy outcomes in the European Union.

By using process tracing as the main methodological approach, theoretically relating the investigation to the fundamental debates in international relations theory, the investigation is executed through four independent article studies. These articles investigate:
1) The political order in the Arctic;
2) The EU's maritime policy development;
3) The EU's Arctic policy development, and;
4) The EU's ban on seal products.

The research concludes that Norway – driven by interest, norms and through the use and possession of relevant capabilities, competence and knowledge – has become an attractive partner to the EU. The findings also demonstrate that it is indeed likely that Norway has influenced several aspects of EU policy development within the empirical domain. At the same time, also failures in attempts to influence can be found.

The research project hence makes a contribution to the international relations (IR) theory debates and particularly 'the small state literature' in exploring and demonstrating how influence in asymmetrical relationships might occur (in particular with respect to the role of knowledge, capacities and norms). The research also expands the debate on 'issue-specific power' (potential and limitations e.g. with respect to the smaller EU member-states' potential to influence issue-specific policy outcomes within the EU). Finally, the thesis displays and discusses empirical examples of how 'soft power' might work in practice, as well as making a theoretical contribution to the ongoing debate on the political order in the Artic.

Dr. Wegge has been affiliated with the FNI since 2012, first as a guest researcher and since August 2013 as a Research Fellow. The thesis has been written as a Research Fellow at the University of Tromsø's Department of Sociology, Political Science and Community Planning.


Further information:
   About Dr. Wegge's doctoral defence (in Norwegian)
   About Dr. Wegge's dissertation (in Norwegian)
 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science, economics, and international law.

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