Northern Europe

For geographical, cultural and political reasons, Norway enjoys strong relations with the countries of northern Europe, not least in the area of security and defence policy terms.

The United States and Great Britain have been Norway’s most important NATO allies historically, but over the past decades, Germany has become an increasingly important partner as well. 

Nordic defence cooperation, which accelerated in the late 2000s, is at the same time part of a wider northern European framework for increased multinational defence cooperation within NATO and the EU.

Ongoing Research projects

Blameless Parliaments? A comparative analysis of parliamentary war powers in Britain, Germany and France
Declaring and conducting war is an executive privilege. Parliamentary involvement differs between the three countries selected here from being informed (France), holding a debate (Britain), to holding a debate and voting (Germany). However, classical wars are increasingly unlikely. Rapid military interventions, deployment of small units to avert an attack or a budding crisis from expanding are increasing in frequency. Often there will be no time to inform parliament before operations start. This has led to a debate on how parliamentary involvement and monitoring of government actions can be upheld.

This study will present and compare the solutions proposed in the three countries. Particular attention will be given to the challenge posed by multinational operations where national sovereignty and thus parliamentary monitoring is severely curtailed. The study will not be limited to the onset and conduct of military operations, but also draw upon the parliaments’ use of inquiries to investigate government actions once the military operations have been terminated.
Contact: Kåre Dahl Martinsen

Partner in leadership – Germany’s role in international security policy since 1990

In 1989, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, US president George H. W. asked Germany to become a “partner in leadership” in what he called a “new world order”. The wars in the Balkans, in the Gulf, and in Afghanistan forced united Germany to reconsider the political and legal parameters defining its security policy. The “Berlin Republic” also had to adapt the public discourse and its armed forces accordingly. Over the last two decades, responding to calls from its partners and allies, Germany has changed and assumed more responsibility as a security actor. Recently, however, Germany’s abstention from a UN Security Council vote on Libya once again proved the country’s deep-rooted ambivalence when confronted with decisions on the use of force.

This postdoctoral project analyses how Germany’s role and influence in international security policy has developed since unification in 1990. The project will question the validity of concepts that either see Germany as a great power with the responsibility to play a more active role in international affairs or as a civilian power still bound by many of the limitations (and self-limitations) that characterised the semi-sovereign Federal Republic during the Cold War. 

The project focuses on Germany’s role in the Euro-Atlantic security framework, with NATO and EU as its main pillars, but also takes into account Berlin’s reactions to geopolitical changes at the global level. 

The study is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.
Contact: Robin Allers


Closed research projects


From territorial defence in Europe to «out-of-area» operations: The Bundeswehr and the British Armed Forces 1990–2014
The PhD project runs until 2015, and aims to describe and explain the development and employment of the German and the British armed forces during the first two decades following the end of the Cold War. Special emphasis is placed on explaining Germany’s more conservative defence policy, with only limited change to Bundeswehr force structure and limited employment of the armed forces in out-of-area military operations. This is contrasted with the United Kingdom’s rapid restructuring and participation in expeditionary operations after the Cold War. 
Contact: Håkon Lunde Saxi

Published 28 October 2014 09:07.. Last updated 31 May 2017 13:34.