Photo: Nicole Gumatay

A Seminar on Sovereignty in Europe

“Norway has never before been more sovereign, and never before so tied up with International and European law”, Professor Fredrik Sejersted said at the seminar, held in occasion of the bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution.


Professor Vernon Bogdanor from King’s College in London and Professor Fredrik Sejersted from the University of Oslo were the keynote speakers on the subject “Sovereignty in Europe in the 21st Century”, two days before the 17th of May, the national constitution day of Norway.

One of the main topics addressed by Professor Sejersted was the relationship between the sovereignty guaranteed by the Constitution and the ever-increasing internationalisation and Europeanisation of national law and policy. A topic, he pointed out, which is relevant in most European states today, not least in the UK.

Professor Bogdanor compared sovereignty with virginity: “Once it is lost – it is lost forever”. One of the topics touched upon by Professor Bogdanor was the anti-establishment revolt in the UK against the EU, in light of the European Parliament election and the general election taking place on the 22nd May. He also touched upon how the EU affects agriculture, and how Norway and the UK share the same problem of balancing the European movement with nationality.

Professor Sejersted addressed the current crisis in Europe as an example of how legal integration has sped up considerably, and predicted even more European cooperation in the 21st century. He also believed that the basic formal sovereignty will remain with the nation states, but the tensions will continue to increase between sovereignty and integration. Concerning Norway and the EU, Professor Sejersted pointed out that Norway is practicing integration without representation; not being able to participate or decide, but still having to formally agree on all new legal acts coming from the EU, the EEA, Schengen or others. "The level of actual sovereignty on European policy is in this way lower for Norway than for the UK. And it will remain so, unless the UK should join our club of outsiders”, he ended.


Read Professor Sejersted's hand-out from the seminar here


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