The Future of a More Differentiated E(M)U – Necessities, Options, Choices

This paper argues that future EMU reforms will require a higher level of differentiation between Euro and non-Euro countries. However, the creation of a closed core Europe involving merely the “willing and able,” which would establish a two-tier Europe with different institutionalized classes of membership, is neither likely nor desirable. It should not be the Leitbild (guiding concept) steering the way towards a more differentiated Europe. The EU and its members should rather adhere to the notion of functional-pragmatic differentiation by applying instruments of differentiated integration foreseen by the EU Treaties. However, given the experience since 2010, member states are likely to continue to revert to intergovernmental avenues of differentiation outside the EU’s framework. In this case, it would be advisable to make sure that future agreements/arrangements follow the logic and principles of an intergovernmental avant-garde to avoid some of the risks linked to a higher level of cooperation outside the Union’s legal framework.

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.

Roma, IAI, February 2017, 13 p.
Publication date: 

1. State and prospects of E(M)U affairs – a half-baked project
2. What role for what kind of differentiated integration?
Option 1: creation of a (closed) core Europe – neither likely nor desirable
Option 2: functional-pragmatic differentiation within the EU framework – desirable but not likely
Option 3: intergovernmental avant-garde outside the EU Treaties – a potential necessity under crisis pressure
Conclusions: The right choices for a more differentiated E(M)U

Research area