Member state equality and procedural fairness in differentiated integration: A republican perspective

EU3D Research Papers, No. 11, July 2021 (SSRN)

Dirk Leuffen


This paper builds on (internationalist) republicanism and claims that differentiated integration (DI) must be designed in a way that honours the principle of freedom as non-domination. When implemented in such a way, DI ensures rather than threatens the principle of member state – and thereby citizens – equality. I argue that democratic member states through their EU membership self-bind themselves to associative obligations that call for respecting the other member states’ equality and freedom. However, associative obligations do not apply to non-member states; on this ground, an important difference between internal and external differentiation can be established. Finally, the paper argues – and illustrates with selected examples – that procedural justice or fairness can assure legitimacy of DI.


Differentiated Integration, European Union, Equality, Fairness, Membership, Republicanism

By Dirk Leuffen
Published July 28, 2021 8:32 AM - Last modified July 28, 2021 8:32 AM