This article studies the responses of two outsiders towards a prospective Common Shipping Policy during the 1960s and the 1970s, adopting a business perspective and focusing on the shipping sector in Greece and Norway. It argues that the global liberal outlook of the major European maritime powers and the international framework already in place, made any strictly regional policy superfluous. Alliances among Shipowners and associations ran across the member- and non-member division, and were informed by global economic considerations such as the oil shock, competition from South East Asia and structural changes in the sector. In this context, we argue, the Commission acted as an interlocutor alongside a liberal alliance, with particular European aims. This alliance was an unlikely one, seeing Greek–Norwegian (sometimes wavering) hopes in Britain, as a possible guarantor of liberal shipping regime within the enlarged Community in the early 1970s. In the end, the European response to the crisis and structural changes of the 1970s proved unsatisfactory, and only those – like Greece – who fully embraced the ‘new’ rules of the game reaped the benefits of the structural changes.