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The European Union as a System of Differentiated Integration: Interdependence, Politicization and Differentiation

[working paper]

Schimmelfennig, Frank; Leuffen, Dirk; Rittberger, Berthold

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Corporate Editor Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS), Wien
Abstract This paper conceptualizes the European Union (EU) as a system of differentiated integration characterized by both variation in levels of centralization (vertical differentiation) and variation in territorial extension (horizontal differentiation) across policy areas. Differentiation has been a concomitant of deepening and widening and has increased and consolidated as the EU’s powers, policy scope, and membership have grown. Turning to explanation, the paper attributes the pattern of differentiated integration in the EU to the interaction of interdependence and politicization. Differentiation among the member states (internal differentiation) results from supranational integration under conditions of high interdependence and politicization. By contrast, external differentiation (the selective policy integration of non-member states) occurs in highly interdependent but weakly politicized policy areas. These constellations are illustrated in case studies of differentiation in the internal market, monetary union, and defence.
Keywords EU; politicization; interdependence; European integration; political theory; political science; political governance; governance; multi-level system; European Policy
Classification Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Political Science; European Politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
City Wien
Page/Pages 29 p.
Series Reihe Politikwissenschaft / Institut für Höhere Studien, Abt. Politikwissenschaft, 137
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications