Genopfindelsen af NORDEN: En MPA Masterafhandling med et Nordisk perspektiv

Trine Lerche Lutz & Morten Brix Laursen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This paper examines how the formal Nordic Co-operation, called “NORDEN”, between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the three autonomous areas, the Faroe Island, Greenland and the Åland Islands is changing in a globalized world where innovative solutions are needed in order to ensure and gain international and interregional political legitimacy. The countries and the autonomous territories have different relationships to international unions. Denmark, Iceland and Norway are members of NATO. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are members of the EU. Norway and Iceland are members of the EEA. Finland is the only Nordic country which has adopted the common European currency, the Euro. All the countries are however part of the Nordic Council (Nordic parliamentary co-operation forum) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (Nordic governments' co-operation forum) and has its common headquarter in Copenhagen where the secretary- and PR department is coordinating day by day business. The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, which is held for a period of one year, alternates between the member countries. Looking at this interregional political organization and its fight for legitimacy, we first turn to Ernesto Laclau and his discourse analysis in order to discover hidden political patterns and the tension between opposing discourses. Then we turned to new institutionalism to describe historic path dependencies, the institutional environment and how e.g. the European Union as a supranational organization and/or the Nordic population is demanding different and opposing kind of legitimacy from the Nordic cooperation. Finally we analyzed the Nordic cooperation’s strategic use of legitimacy. Some of the findings The ongoing development and thus the reinvention of NORDEN as a regionalized organization are justified mainly by arguments that the organization must seek to tackle the challenges coursed by the globalization pressure. Globalization has become a catalyst for change with built-in tensions that compels NORDEN to act and find a common Nordic political identity. The general globalization discourse is supported by various "sub-discourses" and with these sub-discourses emerge, new concepts and focus points within the organization. Traditional concepts such as the old Nordic brotherhood and common cultural communities are replaced with a new focus on competitiveness and innovation – These discursive changes are helping to reinvent the Nordic cooperation and are also contributing to a new political agenda. NORDEN has since its establishment been strengthened and weakened as the Nordic countries has chosen different partners and alliances outside the Nordic region. It is clear that NORDEN constantly has sought to identify and expand the boundaries of what the Nordic cooperation can become, but it is also clear that it is difficult to agree on common positions when NORDEN talks about e.g. foreign and security issues. The development of common policies is therefore largely influenced by each country's different international relationships. EU's supranational power and strength on the European continent has lead to that the Nordic countries only occasionally manage to speak with "a common Nordic voice” within the EU. However, as the EU changes its hierarchies (most recently in connection with the Amsterdam Treaty, which results in less power and influence to the small EU countries) the more strengthened become the Nordic cooperation. It seems that, EU regionalization calls for closer cooperation within NORDEN. Finally a philosophical approach The paper ends with a philosophical text, inspired by Michel Foucault lecture “Des Espace Autres - Of Other Spaces” from 1967. This concluding chapter is looking at the Nordic cooperation as heterotopias, a realized utopia where NORDEN as an organization can be construed as an "other space" or a room where the Nordic people can meet and share common historical values that create innovation, growth and welfare. The organization articulations about a “Nordic federal state” in their latest yearbook from 2010 can be seen as a description of what NORDEN in a near future could offer the Nordic countries and the Nordic people. NORDEN is presented as a "necessary" supplement and alternative to the European Union and promise the Nordic countries and people the future membership of important institutions such as G20 and much needed influence inside the EU.

EducationsMaster of Public Administration, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages191