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Differentiation in the European Union Integration Process

explanatory Essay
2158 words
2158 words
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“From time to time it is worth reminding ourselves why twenty-seven European nation states have come together voluntarily to form the partnership that is the European Union.” 1

Europe has a history of war and conflict that predates living memory and the idea of a united Europe is something that appears repeatedly in that history. Hitler, Napoleon, and the many Roman Emperors all sought a united Europe. Their quests although in many ways motivated by a horrifying desire for power sparked the minds of philosophers and other political thinkers to imagine Europe united in harmony and peace despite national differences. Today we have the European Union which is quite unique. After the horrors, bloodshed, and economic disaster of the twentieth century, in a desire for peace and harmony and economic and political prosperity twenty-seven states have limited their national sovereignty.2 With national interests and ambition still in mind these countries see the European Union and supranational governance and the benefits of peace and prosperity therein as something worthwhile. However, in the history of European integration there has been much conflict and Euroskepticism. Some see unity in diversity and diversity in unity as impossible, and the existence of differentiation in the EU as highly problematic. However, differentiation in the European Union’s integration process is not the hindrance it is often defined as, rather it creates further cooperation in Europe bringing the European Union closer to its objectives of peace, and economic and political growth, resulting in a more effective and efficient bureaucracy. Differentiation in the EU’s integration process has created more successful integration as it allows the nations who wish t...

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Marks, Gary and Marco R. Steenbergen. European Integration and Political Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Zervakis, Peter, 2006. “Differentiated Integration”: An Alternative Path to Classical Integration?, in: The Federalist (Paria), 48 (2006) 3, 205-213.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that it is worth reminding ourselves why twenty-seven european nation states have come together voluntarily to form the european union.
  • Opines that the idea of a united europe is something that appears repeatedly in the history of europe.
  • Defines differentiation as member states engaging in policy areas and integration projects that every member state is not involved in. differentiation allows countries to implement policies at the rate that is best for them.
  • Explains that differentiation in the process of european integration means more successful integration and acts as a catalyst for further integration.
  • Explains that enhanced cooperation makes it possible for a group of at least eight member states to integrate further than the treaties require of them.
  • Explains that differentiation creates democratic legitimacy within the european union by encouraging countries to work together in certain policy areas, but by not requiring harmonization, differences in opinion can exist without increased tension.
  • Explains that enhanced cooperation and the opt-out policy create a high degree of openness and involvement of the european parliament and national parliaments, thus further enhancing democracy.
  • Explains that differentiation improves cooperation amongst member states. cooperation is fostered through some countries acting as leaders for others to learn and benefit from, thus creating a strong relationship between nation states
  • Explains that differentiation is something that comes naturally to the european union. the growing size requires flexibility and differentiation, which will grow in importance.
  • Argues that differentiation improves the relationship between the european union and its citizens.
  • Explains that differentiation in the european union has become natural to the integration process. it provides opportunities for deeper integration of member states and allows the nations who wish to integrate further to do so without being held back by nations.
  • Cites littoz-monnet, annabelle, the european union and culture: between economic regulation and european cultural policy.
  • Explains marks, gary, and marco r. steenbergen. european integration and political conflict.
  • Explains zervakis, peter, and the federalist, "differentiated integration": an alternative path to classical integration?
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