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Splittelse og dobbeltspill – Borten- og Bratteli-regjeringenes forhandlinger om EF-medlemskap i 1970–72

f. 1972, ph.d. 2008, førsteamanuensis i Europastudier, Institutt for moderne fremmedspråk, NTNU. geir.ketil.almlid@ntnu.no

Spørsmålet om EF-medlemskap var et av det forrige århundrets mest splittende politiske tema i Norge. Artikkelen setter fokus på selve medlemskapsforhandlingene, som foregikk i perioden juni 1970 til januar 1972 og som dannet grunnlaget for den påfølgende EF-kampen og folkeavstemningen. Basert på et omfattende arkivmateriale analyseres motivene og strategiene til de to regjeringene som var ansvarlig for de norske forhandlingene, ledet av henholdsvis Borten og Bratteli. Dette viser at sentrum/periferi-skillet i norsk politikk er viktig for å forstå forhandlingsstrategiene, og hvordan Bratteli-regjeringen havnet i en svært krevende situasjon på grunn av Borten-regjeringens tøffe åpning.

Division and double-dealing. The Borten and Bratteli governments’ negotiations for EC membership 1970–72

Membership of the European Community was one of Norway’s most divisive issues in the 20th century. Not only did it bring down two governments, it also brought about intensive, bitter divisions within political parties and among friends and families. The focus of this article is the accession negotiations between the Community and Norway, from June 1970 to January 1972, which became the basis for the subsequent membership debate and referendum. Based on released government archive documents, the article provides insight into the considerations and actions of the two Norwegian governments involved in the negotiations. It establishes how the conservative/centre coalition government led by Per Borten initiated the negotiations by choosing a very tough strategy, not least because a majority of his government had the strong support of rural Norway, where scepticism to membership was prevalent. Particularly important for these areas were permanent exemptions from the Common Market rules on agriculture and fisheries. It was Trygve Bratteli and his Labour Party government that carried out the most substantial parts of the negotiations. They were significantly more positive to European integration and did not have such strong ties to rural Norway. But their predecessor’s tough approach had created high, unrealistic hopes that special arrangements for the primary sectors in the Norwegian periphery could be achieved. Thus, the Bratteli government had to take a tougher approach than they fundamentally wanted to, and play a double game with the Norwegian public. It became a battle between what was achievable in Brussels and what they could get away with domestically, and eventually these positions turned out to be unbridgeable. The analysis hence demonstrates how important the domestic political context is for understanding international negotiations and how opening positions can influence the rest of negotiations and voters’ views on the final treaty.

Keywords: European Community; negotiation strategies; European integration; centre-periphery cleavage.
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