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Europe in multiple circles: variations on the theme of

Külügyi Szemle 2005/3-4 - 15 novembre, 2005
Analyse and essay
Hajnalka Vincze

The present analysis examines one of the crucial points of the debates on the European Union’s evolution, namely the issue of "differentiation". With respect to this integration approach, commonly known under the names of "multi-speed Europe", "hard core" or "variable geometry", the paper underlines the fact that in itself this is neither a positive, nor a negative category. Whether increasing differentiation will lead to the disintegration or the revitalization of the integration depends, in fine, on two things: in the service of which policy and applying which modalities these flexibility measures will be put in practice.

After the clarification of the terminology and the categorization of the concepts, a short historical outline proposes to shed a light on the whole process. Next follows a study of the practical and theoretical examples of the various forms (avant-garde, pick and choose, concentric circles, enhanced co-operations, directorate etc). To conclude, the article evokes the political and substantial question marks related to the diverse flexibility scenarios. It puts an emphasis on the fact that reflections are ceaselessly intensifying on the subject. The only unknown factor is to know which one of the scenarios and at which moment will be compatible with the logic of events and the balance of forces, in order to prove to be a viable solution, prone to promote Europeans’ collective sovereignty and capacity to act. For more information on the content of the article, please contact the author.




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