Norwegian ambassador Hovdkinn: Norway’s first constitution is still underpinning Norway’s political system

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Norway’s first constitution of May 17, 1814, is still underpinning the Norwegian political system, Norway’s ambassador in Bucharest Oystein Hovdkinn told Agerpres on Norway’s National Day and Constitution Day.

Hovdkinn said Norway left its union with Denmark in 1814 and, because of the context created by Sweden and other countries, it had to enter another union, with Sweden. Norway, he said, joined the new union but only after it created its own constitution on May 17, 1814.

He also said the constitution, by the standards of those times, was radically democratic and liberal, borrowing many aspects from the constitutions of the US and France, but also preserving hereditary monarchy.

Hovdkinn said the Constitution of May 17, 1814 became the basis for larger freedom within the union with Sweden, while enlarging Norway’s autonomy all along the 19th century. He said that the only joint institutions of Norway and Sweden in 1905 were the monarchy and the foreign ministry.

When Norway asked to set up it own consular offices, the ambassador said, the union fell apart and Norway won independence with its own king.

He added that Norwegians stack to their independence two more times: in 1972 and 1994, both times when most of the Norwegians rejected European Union membership.

Hovdkinn argued that there is now a dramatic shift in the 1905 concept of independence. Norway’s de facto integration with the EU internal market, he said, has made Norway more or less the same independent as the full EU member states.

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