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Norway joins Arf!

Drop the EU and US debate. Norway should ally with Asia instead.


After a visit to Toronto this summer, British author Timothy Garton Ash wrote a controversial article in The Guardian: He suggested that the EU invite Canada to join the European Union! The reason is that hardly any country in the world – yes, hardly any of the future Eastern European member states – would meet EU requirements better than the rich, tolerant and peaceful country in North America.

Ash's proposal may seem somewhat resilient and forward-looking, but if nothing else it brought hundreds of engaged reader posts.

Transferred to Norwegian conditions: Where should overseas Norway seek new economic and cultural allies in the 21. century? Initially, EU membership is irrelevant: after more than 40 years of debate and two referendums, the Norwegian opposition is still strongly opposed to joining a European Union. And in the event that Norway is able to gather an application, in fact even the EU is liable to play other violin on a worldwide basis with today's economic development.

But where should internationally-oriented Norwegians turn, as an alternative to the narrow yes or no to the EU debate, now that the WTO negotiations between broke down in July?

In the best Ash spirit, the answer should eventually be obvious: ASEAN, which stands for Association of Southeast Nations. Today, the economic-political cooperation Asean has 10 core member countries, with Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand as the original driving forces. But Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, China and South Korea have now become so-called. . .

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Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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