The thesis seeks to explain why export-oriented countries with small populations like Sweden, Norway and Switzerland historically have been reluctant towards full membership in the European communities, aiming instead at a lower level of integration

Neither economic nor political theories of integration can adequately explain this hesitation to join. Situated within the theoretical framework of leveral intergovernmentalism, the thesis focuses on the formation of national preferences. It argues that lower economic incentives and higher political impediments to integration make for greater reluctance in integration policy

Thirty cases from the period 1950-1995 are examined using extensive statistical and verbal data. Findings strongly confirm the hypothesis and lay the ground for future theoretical and empirical work on "Euroskepticism