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Differentiation and EU Governance: Key Elements and Impact


Existing literature on differentiated integration has made an important contribution in theorising and operationalising its regulatory dimension. However, in order to fully evaluate the impact of differentiation on EU governance, this approach needs to be enriched with additional elements. The organisational element allows us to grasp the different forms, venues and actors of differentiation. The constitutional element connects the different forms of differentiation to the foundations of EU constitutionalism and identity. The socio-political element goes beyond the analysis of differentiation as a policy practice and qualifies it as a policy choice. On this basis, a generalisation is proposed resulting from a comparative analysis of a wide range of contributions in different policy sectors in order to assess differentiation in the EU’s governance against three main criteria: effectiveness, sustainability and accountability/legitimacy.
Keywords: accountability; differentiation; differentiated integration; effectiveness; EU governance; sustainability

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