European Integration without EU Membership: The Different Paths of Norway and Switzerland

Carleton will be hosting a conversation between the ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland moderated by Achim Hurrelmann, professor of political science and associate director of the Centre for European Studies. Norway’s Mona Elizabeth Brøther and Ulrich Lehner of Switzerland will reflect on their relationships with the European Union (EU).

“Norway and Switzerland have developed specific legal arrangements with the EU that allow both countries to participate in many aspects of European integration without becoming an EU member state,” said Hurrelmann. “These arrangements are seen by many as a feasible alternative to full EU membership, especially in the United Kingdom, where a referendum on leaving the EU is expected for 2017. The question, of course, is whether one can have one’s cake and eat it. Proponents of the Norwegian and Swiss arrangements argue that these allow both countries to reap the benefits of European integration without incurring the loss of sovereignty that EU membership entails. But critics have pointed out that, in practice, Norway and Switzerland are often forced to accept EU rules without having any say in their making.”

In their discussion, the two ambassadors will explain why Norway and Switzerland have rejected full EU membership, and which legal, economic and political relationships with the EU they have developed instead. How have these arrangements worked for the two countries? What are their benefits and costs? Do they provide an alternative for EU member states whose population is concerned about the loss of sovereignty to Brussels, such as the United Kingdom? Can they be a model for countries that have not been given an explicit EU membership perspective, such as Ukraine?

When: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 from 3:00 p.m to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Robertson Hall, Senate Room, 6th Floor

About the Ambassadors

H.E. Mona Elisabeth Brøther was appointed Norwegian ambassador to Canada in September 2012.  Brøther studied at the University of Oslo and holds degrees in history, Spanish and political science.  She joined the foreign service of Norway in 1979 and has had a number of postings abroad, most recently to Chile and to Venezuela.  Her main area of work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been within information and cultural promotion, but she has also been involved in the Norwegian agenda on sustainable development since the Brundtland report of 1997.  Between 1998 and 2000, she was head of Foreign Affairs’ section for Sustainable Development.  Since 2009, she has been Deputy Director General of the Department for Cultural Promotion, Public Diplomacy and Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

H.E. Ulrich Lehner was appointed Swiss ambassador to Canada and the Bahamas in late 2011. He was educated in Sion, Toronto and Geneva and holds a master’s in political economy from the University of Geneva and a postgraduate diploma in security policy studies.  He joined the Swiss Foreign Service in 1981 and has been posted to Portugal, Brazil, Norway, Italy, Egypt and France. While in Switzerland, he was Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, head of Policy Planning and the head of the Multilateral Division of the Foreign Ministry. Prior to coming to Canada, he was ambassador to France and Monaco.


For more information
Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
(613) 520-2600, ext. 8718
(613) 240-3305

Follow us on Twitter:
Need an expert? Go to: