The promises, pitfalls and pathways of differentiated integration

EU3D professors John Erik Fossum, Dirk Leuffen, Chris Lord, and Sabine Saurugger discussed differentiation and the future of Europa at the ACES Annual Conference. Watch all sessions here.

30 September to 1 October, the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) held its annual conference, this year organised around the topic of differentiated integration.

The conference brought together researchers from three Horizon 2020 projects: InDivEU, EU IDEA, and EU3D. The projects are linked together in the DiCE network.

The ACES Annual Conference examined the development of differentiated integration within the EU from an empirical and a normative perspective, focusing on both its promises and its pitfalls.  Speakers covered internal and external dimensions of differentiation, including Brexit, linking academic research to current political debates about the future of European integration. The conference also considered alternative pathways to accommodating national diversity within the EU such as experimentalist governance.

All sessions were recorded.

Differentiated Integration in Theory and Practice: State of the Art

This opening panel explored rival theoretical approaches to understanding differentiated integration and review the findings of the latest empirical research on its incidence and impact within the EU.

Speakers: Frank Schimmelfennig (ETH Zurich/InDivEU), Sandra Lavenex (Geneva/EUIDEA), John Erik Fossum (ARENA Oslo/EU3D)

Moderator: Jonathan Zeitlin (UvA/InDivEU)

Politics and Preferences: For and Against Differentiated Integration

Do voters and governments support or oppose differentiated integration? And how do such patterns of support and opposition vary across EU member states and policy issues?

This panel discussed these important but understudied issues based on new survey and documentary research conducted within the three H2020 projects.

Speakers: Catherine De Vries (Bocconi/VU/InDivEU), Dirk Leuffen (Konstanz/EU3D), Stefan Telle/Brigid Laffan (EUI/InDivEU)

Moderator/discussant: Theresa Kuhn (UvA/InDivEU)

Brexit and the Future EU-UK Relationship: A Case of Differentiated Disintegration?

As an EU member state, the UK was among the strongest supporters of differentiated integration. Now that it has left the Union, the UK continues to demand tailor-made access to the Single Market and other EU policies and programmes. How will this tension between uniform rules and national exceptions play out in the future EU-UK relationship, and what are its implications for differentiated integration within and beyond the EU?

Speakers: Michael Keating (Aberdeen/InDivEU), Eulalia Rubio (Jacques Delors Institute/EUIDEA), Chris Lord (ARENA, Oslo/EU3D), Jochem Wiers (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Brexit Task Force)

Moderator: Christina Eckes (UvA/ACES)

Experimentalist Governance and Differentiated Integration: Alternatives or Complements?

The debate about differentiated integration typically assumes that EU governance involves top-down imposition of rigid, uniform rules, which some member states may be unwilling or unable to accept.

Based on new research conducted within the InDivEU project on three regulatory policy fields (electricity, banking, and GMOs), this panel examined how far experimentalist governance, based on flexible, revisable rulemaking, may represent an alternative or complementary approach to that of differentiated integration in responding to diversity among EU member states.

Speakers: Bernardo Rangoni (UvA/InDivEU), Maria Weimer (UvA/InDivEU), Jonathan Zeitlin (UvA/InDivEU)

Moderator/discussant: Sandra Lavenex (Geneva/EUIDEA)

Demoi-cracy or Domination? Normative Perspectives on Differentiated Integration

Does differentiated integration advance democracy by allowing the EU’s multiple demoi or peoples greater scope to choose the extent to which they are willing to pool their sovereignty with others across different policy domains? Or does it lead instead to an increase in domination, as the choices of some member states are effectively subordinated to those of their larger and more powerful neighbours?

In this panel, two prominent political theorists debated the normative implications of differentiated integration for European democracy.

Speakers: Richard Bellamy (UCL/Exeter/InDivEU), John Erik Fossum (ARENA Oslo/EU3D)

Moderator: Ben Crum (VU Amsterdam)

Differentiated Integration and the Future of Europe

This concluding panel, comprising both academics and practitioners, discussed the political and policy implications of current research on differentiated integration for the future of Europe and the EU.

Speakers: Brigid Laffan (EUI/InDivEU), Sabine Saurugger (Grenoble/EU3D), Ceta Noland (Strategic Policy Advisor, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Moderator: Jonathan Zeitlin (UvA/InDivEU)

Published Dec. 20, 2020 7:51 AM - Last modified Dec. 20, 2020 8:00 AM