Efforts to set up a Scandinavian defence union failed when Denmark, Norway and Iceland opted to join NATO in 1949.
In the late 1940s, an attempt to integrate Denmark, Norway and Sweden into an economic customs union also failed.
The Danish Minister of Trade, Jens Otto Krag – who was later Prime Minister for most of the period 1962–1972 – wrote, cuttingly:
“In my office in the Ministry of Trade in Copenhagen I have a cupboard in which I store important documents. In it I have a drawer marked 'Studies and minutes referring to Nordic economic co-operation'. It is packed full. It is bulging with paper. There is no drawer marked 'Results of Nordic co-operation', but if there were then it would unfortunately probably be – not completely empty – but certainly much less packed.”
These fiascos, however, ultimately led to a successful intiative.
The Danish Prime Minister, Hans Hedtoft, at the Nordic Interparliamentary Association's 28th delegate meeting of 13 August 1951, proposed the creation of a consultation body in which Nordic parliamentarians would meet on a regular basis.
The proposal was ratified by Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 1952.