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From Fly in the Ointment to Accomplice: Norway in EU Foreign and Security Policy

In May 2005 the Norwegian government signed an agreement to contribute troops to the European Union’s so-called battle groups. These are integrated military forces that are at the disposal of the European Union for a period of 6 months at a time. How can we account for such a decision to provide a permanent military contribution to an integrated force that stands at the disposal of a Union that Norway is not part of?

ARENA Working Paper 2/2012

Helene Sjursen

In May 2005 the Norwegian government signed an agreement to contribute troops to the European Union’s so-called battle groups. These are integrated military forces that are at the disposal of the European Union for a period of 6 months at a time. Norway’s association with the battle groups raises important questions concerning legitimacy and democratic accountability. How can we account for such a decision to provide a permanent military contribution to an integrated force that stands at the disposal of a Union that Norway is not part of? In this paper it is suggested that if we are to understand this it is necessary to take into consideration the particular significance that was attributed to the battle groups. Portrayed as a contribution to the United Nations and ‘global peace’, the idea of such battle groups echoed key concerns of Norwegian foreign and security policy. However, the anchoring of the battle groups concept in the UN does not necessarily do away with the more fundamental dilemmas that such troops raise regarding the raison d’être of security and defence policy in a context of intense mutual interdependence and integration in an increasingly globalised world.

ARENA Working Paper 2/2012 (pdf)