This paper explores the ways in which national identities shape attitudes towards differentiated integration in two old member states, one relatively new member state and one candidate country – namely France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey. It also observes how the impact of differentiated integration on European identity is perceived in these given countries in terms of preserving European identity (deepening), the dilution of European identity (disintegration) and the territorial/geographic limits of European identity (widening). By employing primary research and discourse analysis, the study finds that there is no single and monolithic national identity which produces a uniform attitude towards differentiated integration in member and candidate states, but rather that competing domestic national identity narratives produce differing attitudes within a state on differentiated integration. These national identity narratives can translate into starkly different policy positions concerning the policy area that is subject to differentiated integration, as well as on how differentiation is expected to impact the future of European integration and European identity.
1. France and differentiated integration: Centrality of the French self in a differentiated Europe
1.1 Fiscal Compact
1.2 Migration crisis
2. Germany and differentiated integration: Self-Identification as “good Europeans” and shifting views on differentiation
2.1 Fiscal Compact
2.2 Migration crisis
3. Czech Republic and differentiated integration: Should we stay behind or go along?
3.1 Fiscal Compact
3.2 Migration crisis
4. Turkey and differentiated integration: Polarised national identities and differentiation
4.1 Fiscal Compact
4.2 Migration crisis