Differentiation or federalisation: Which democracy for the future of Europe?

In an article published in European Law Journal, Sergio Fabbrini (LUISS University) investigates the link between governance differentiation and policy differentiation, suggesting federalisation of the EU as a more promising alternative strategy for advancing integration and, at the same time, meeting the democratic expectations of the EU.

Abstract

Differentiation has become a central topic of debate in the EU. Generally, it is considered a positive device for advancing integration in crucial policies, letting the unwilling states opt out from the new regimes. However, the debate has not sufficiently acknowledged that policy differentiation has been made possible by governance differentiation. It was the 1992 Maastricht Treaty's decision to inaugurate an intergovernmental regime for core state power policies, distinct from the supranational regime regulating single market policies, that allowed differentiation to flourish. Differentiation and intergovernmentalism are thus inter-connected. During multiple crises of the last decade, intergovernmental governance has shown its undemocratic effects, thus soliciting a critical reappraisal of the differentiation logic. The federalisation of the EU appears a more promising alternative strategy for advancing integration and, at the same time, meeting the democratic expectations of the EU. This analytical exercise speaks to the Conference on the Future of Europe.

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Sergio Fabbrini

Differentiation or federalisation: Which democracy for the future of Europe?

European Law Journal

DOI: 10.1111/eulj.12384

Published June 16, 2021 1:48 PM - Last modified July 12, 2021 9:32 AM