Throughout the 1960s Norway was one of four applicant countries trying to join the European Communities (EC). Three times Norway approached the EC, 1962, 1967 and 1970. The two first times Britain, and therefore Norway, Denmark and Ireland, was denied ent ry by French President Charles de Gaulle. In 1973, Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland concluded their negotiations and joined the EC. Norway declined after a popular referendum in 1972. It was the toughest political struggle in Norwegian post-war history, and in the middle of it were a handful of diplomats and civil servants. Through both formal and informal channels, national and transnational connection, these Europeans, as they called themselves, were at the core of a network of likeminded people, work ing for a Norwegian membership. Since the EC-case was to end in a referendum, the civil servants and diplomats became evermore engaged in the battle of capturing the minds of the people. Those opposed to membership cast the civil servants and diplomats as being in allegiance with the wealthy and the powerful, betraying the Norwegian people, and selling their right to national self-determination.
Even though the official policy was to obtain membership negotiations, the shifting governments throughout th e 1960s were all torn in the question. As a result, each time de Gaulle said non, the entire question of Norways relationship with the Community was cleared off the political agenda. The political climate in Norway grew increasingly hostile towards the EC in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Meanwhile, the Community, largely because of Norways faltering attitude and difficult dossier, was for long unconvinced by Norways 'Europeanness'. The small group of Europeans had the near-impossible task of convincing The Six of the need for Norway, and Norway of the necessity of The Six.
This quarter of my thesis tells the beginning of the story of how a handful of diplomats and civil servants became personally invested in the quest for Norwegian membership in the EC, and developed into a self-aware community of experts. Their view of Norwegian European Policy was shaped by their role within the Foreign Service and MFA, their social and generational background, and their connections. The early 1960s marked the begi nning of a progression where the Europeans became the centre of a network. They worked for membership through different formal and informal channels; and were finally defeated in a battle that felt like an institutional shock for the MFA, and a personal d efeat for the Europeans.
Norway went through three harrowing struggles regarding its relationship with the European Communities in the 1960s. At the centre of Norway's contacts and negotiations with the EC stood a limited group of civil servants working with Norway's European pol icy, experts on European integration. The main goal of this thesis is to investigate the following statement: The expert's special competence and position, their connections abroad and at home and pivotal role in the negotiations between the EC and Norway provided them with a unique understanding of what was the best European policy for Norway. The thesis will be an empirical case-study using a classical diplomatic history approach theoretically informed by theories on networks, institutionalism and socia lization from the social sciences. The questions raised in this thesis are relevant beyond the Norwegian case as they address the question of how to define and prove administrative power. Several historians have pointed to the relevance of this topic, but no one has as of yet done a systematically study. There have also been many political science studies of this topic, but they lack the historical aspect.