Finding the right balance between national autonomy and cross-national integration has been a key question throughout the history of European integration. It has also become more urgent following the British government decision to withdraw from the EU and the fear that other states may do the same. In the current situation, it is likely that we will see a process of more flexible integration. However, we know little about what it means in practice, and how will it be addressed by different actors and levels of government (the EU, the member states and associated member states).
What is differentiated integration? How has it developed? And what are its conditions and mechanisms? In an overall assessment of differentiated integration, Frank Schimmelfennig will argue that differentiation has facilitated European integration but is of limited use for overcoming the current crises of the EU.
Frank Schimmelfennig is Professor of European Politics and member of the Center for Comparative and International Studies at ETH Zurich. His main research interest lies in the theory of European integration and, more specifically, in EU enlargement, differentiated integration, democracy promotion, and democratization.