Making Flexible Europe Work? European Governance and the Potential of Differentiated Cooperation

The concept of differentiated integration in the EU is not novel. Accommodating the different socioeconomic and political interests of Member States in EU law and policy has been integral to European integration beginning with the foundation of the union itself. Since the ‘big bang’ enlargement of 2004, the debate, however, has become especially animated, with the EU forced to reconcile the varying levels of ambition present within an ever larger and less homogeneous EU. This situation has been further exacerbated by a post-Brexit EU that is now coming into shape.  

The goal of the report is to determine whether, how much and where differentiation is necessary, sustainable and viable as well as how future approaches towards differentiation could fare in light of these findings.  

The publication consists of three parts. The first part explores possible scenarios of future European integration in four policy areas: economic cooperation, Schengen zone, Common Securityand Defence Policy, and Foreign and Neighbourhood Policy. The second part presents the GLOBSEC expert poll from all 27 Member States scrutinising the countries’ attitude towards such a cooperative model. The final part consists of tailored recommendations for policymakers on how European cooperation could be pursued through differentiated integration. 

Read the full report and the press release below.

The report is the result of a 2-year research project DIFF GOV: European Governance: Potential of Differentiated Cooperation implemented with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, conducted by GLOBSEC’s Policy Institute in collaboration with many experts from 20 Member States, the potential of flexible modes of cooperation among the EU Member States has been addressed.