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Differentiated Integration: A Way Forward for Europe


The idea of differentiated integration (DI) has gained ground within the pro-EU camp, by which some member states can move forward in selected policy areas, possibly involving the remaining countries at a later stage. The notion of DI is increasingly embraced as a sensible and pragmatic way to revive the integration process not only among European politicians, but also among EU institutions themselves. While the concept of DI is straightforward, its application is rather complex both politically and institutionally. Any differentiation initiative should tackle several key issues and questions head on if it hopes to succeed. This paper will outline five broad questions and corresponding guiding principles for differentiation and then apply them to three policy macro-areas: economic governance, defence and freedom security and justice. For each area, a specific path to differentiation and a roadmap are defined by referring to three existing “institutional anchors”, namely: the Eurozone, Permanent Structured Cooperation (PeSCo) in the field of defence and Schengen.

Paper prepared within the context of “EU60: Re-Founding Europe. The Responsibility to Propose”, an initiative launched by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), in cooperation with the Centro Studi sul Federalismo (CSF) and in the framework of IAI’s strategic partnership with the Compagnia di San Paolo, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.

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