Issue 3/2017 of integration

In the new issue of integration, Joachim Schild analyses Emmanuel Macron’s European policy approach with a special focus on the role of Germany to support its imple­men­tation and the oppor­tu­nities of a strong and reener­gised German-French co-leadership for the Union. Stefan Schieren traces the devel­opment of the multi­layered relations of consti­tu­tional, political and European factors that are crucial for under­standing the current debate on Scotland’s future relations with the EU and evaluates the chances of Scottish indepen­dence in relation with Brexit. The thematic focus “flexible EU” in the current issue covers different aspects of differ­en­tiated integration. Political proposals and scien­tific concepts of flexible integration are presented and categorised according to their potential for integration/disintegration. Linked herewith is the question to what extent flexi­bility fosters or endangers coherence of the EU. In addition, the issue examines whether flexi­bility can play a role in strength­ening Economic and Monetary Union and how this has to be organised in order to avoid negative conse­quences of flexible integration. It also contains infor­mation on the ninth German-Nordic-Baltic Forum and the ‘Arbeit­skreis Europäische Integration’ reports on confer­ences about trade defence instru­ments and public finance.

French European Policy under Emmanuel Macron. Ambitions, Strategies and Conditions for success

Joachim Schild

The French presi­dential elections open a window of oppor­tunity for French European policy and for the European Union. Against the rising tide of Euroscep­ticism in France, Emmanuel Macron was able to win this electoral contest with an openly pro-European programme. He tabled an ambitious, proactive European policy approach, including reform proposals for key policy areas, and promised a “refoun­dation” of Europe. These proposals are combined with “protective” elements to assuage the widespread French fears of global­i­sation and European market integration. Two condi­tions must be met in order to implement his plans and restore French influence within the European Union: successful social and economic reforms at home and a strong and reener­gised bilateral relationship with Germany in order to provide co-leadership for the Union.

The Scottish Quest for Independence after Brexit: Changed Situation, Flawed Expectations

Stefan Schieren

There has been a connection between Scottish indepen­dence and Europe for decades. In 1988, the SNP intro­duced its slogan “Indepen­dence in Europe”. However, recent consti­tu­tional, political and European devel­op­ments led to the present situation that connects Brexit and the break-up of Britain in a way, one would not have thought of ten years ago. Consid­ering these multi­layered relations is crucial for under­standing the current debate on Scotland’s future relations with the EU. The article reviews the process of devolution and concludes that Brexit made Scottish indepen­dence rather unlikely.

Thematic Focus: “Flexible EU“

Flexible Integration between Integrative Progress and Regression

Annegret Eppler

The article catego­rizes political proposals and scien­tific concepts of flexible integration using a twodi­rec­tional and multi­di­men­sional concept of EU (dis-)integration. Causal­ities for (dis-)integration assumed by the theories of European integration – interests of EU states on the one hand and inter­de­pen­dencies between integration dimen­sions on the other – are applied to the formation of flexible integration. Using these two basic expla­na­tions, the article takes existing studies as a basis to discuss theoretical causal­ities and empirical cases in which flexible integration may lead to further integration or disin­te­gration of the overall EU system.

Flexibilisation of the European Union: on the Model of Concentric Circles

Claudio Franzius

Various models have been proposed to make the European Union (EU) more flexible. The Brexit makes the model of concentric circles attractive, but it remains unsettled how such a flexi­bil­i­sation can be embedded in the political structure. If we refrain from strong concep­tions of unity, then the crucial question is how to ensure the coherence of flexible struc­tures. This article argues against the idea of two circles which would require member states to choose the inner circle of the Eurozone so as not to be “deported” into the outer circle of a mere partnership.

In Means In: Little Scope for Flexibility in Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

Katharina Gnath

The euro crisis has shown that the common currency has major design flaws. Therefore, efforts have been made in recent years to strengthen the insti­tu­tions of the euro area and to better prepare it against future crises. Emmanuel Macron, who won the French presi­dential election in May 2017, has announced that he will join forces with Germany and the other euro area countries to launch further integration steps to stabilize Economic and Monetary Union. This article, entitled “In means in: Little scope for flexi­bility in Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union”, examines whether flexi­bility can play a role in strength­ening Economic and Monetary Union, and if so, in what form. It comes to the conclusion that flexi­bility cannot mean that some Eurozone members partic­ipate in the reform process of the euro area while others do not. The only acceptable form of flexi­bility is the deepening of the Eurozone through inter­gov­ern­mental treaties outside the EU legal framework. However, it must be ensured that the mecha­nisms of parlia­mentary control and account­ability enshrined in the European rules are not under­mined.

Consequences of Flexible Integration: Limited Opportunities, High Risks

Timm Beichelt

Flexi­bility within the EU is often judged as a possi­bility to foster integration and to overcome stagnation. This text in contrast takes a more pessimistic position and argues from a theoretical and empiric perspective that many forms of differ­en­tiated integration would go at the expense of peripheral member states. It is also argued that empiric examples of selective integration have not shown convincing results. Conse­quences of flexible integration are therefore generally judged as ambivalent.


Carolin Marx und Petra Fischer
Der Wandel der Außen­politik in Zeiten postfak­tischer Kommu­nikation


Sophia Müller
Aktuelle Entwick­lungen und zukün­ftige Heraus­forderungen im Bereich der Handelss­chutzin­stru­mente

Mustafa Yeter
Die Bedeutung der öffentlichen Finanzen für die Entwicklung von Nation­al­staaten

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