EU constitutional standards of democracy in differentiated integration

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Series Details 2021/80, Number 80
Publication Date 2021
ISSN 1028-3625


Differentiated integration has becomes a pervasive feature of the EU legal and political reality. It happens when legal rules are not uniformly valid across the EU Member States. This report explores to what extent regimes of differentiated integration are compatible with EU constitutional standards of democracy. Increasing recourse to differentiated integration in the EU builds upon the premise that differentiation can strengthen the democratic underpinning of the Union by allowing different views and preferences to coexist, while pursuing further integration. Yet, differentiation can also create asymmetries between Member States, which are not subject to the same rights and obligations, thus challenging key assumptions about equality. The report provides an analytical framework to assess different forms of differentiation, deriving four main constitutional standards of democracy from the EU Treaties - representation, political accountability, legal accountability and transparency. It then applies these standards to concrete case-studies in the two mostly differentiated EU policy areas: the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ).

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