Foreign Policy Strategies: Norway and the High North

In Noralv Veggeland (ed), Administrative Strategies of our Time. Happauge (USA), Nova Science Publishers, 2017, pp. 261-288.

The High North is the number one priority in Norwegian foreign politics. The country’s High North strategies have traditionally centred on its relationship with other states in the Barents Sea area, Russia in particular. During the Cold War, security interests dominated, while after the dissolution of the Soviet Union institutionalized cooperation with Russia became the hallmark of Norwegian High North politics, bilaterally and multilaterally through the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) initiative. From the mid-2000s, the division between foreign and domestic policies gradually dissolved, while more recently the circumpolar dimension has grown in importance. Balancing the domestic, regional and circumpolar levels is a challenge in Norwegian High North policies, but this also gives an opportunity to cultivate different dimensions of these policies depending on the international political situation. Hence, both the circumpolar and national dimensions have become more important following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014, at the expense of bilateral relations with Russia. These approaches converge, however, in the image of High North politics as a 'national project'.