Multi-speed Europe


Multi-speed Europe
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Multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe (called also variable geometry Europe or Core Europe depending on the form it would take in practice) is the idea that different parts of the European Union should integrate to different levels depending on the political situation in each individual country.[1][2] Indeed, multi-speed Europe is currently a reality, with only a subset of EU countries members of the eurozone and of the Schengen area.

Contents

The reasons and actuality of the concept

The concept entered political discourse when, after the end of the Cold War, an eastward enlargment of the European Union began to materialize and the question arose how „widening“ could be made compatible with „deepening“[3], i.e., how the imminent enlargement process could be prevented from diluting the idea of an „ever closer union among the peoples of Europe“, as the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community of 1957 had put it. In 1994 – still at a time of the EU12 – the German Christian Democrats Wolfgang Schäuble and Karl Lamers published a document[4] in which they called for a Kerneuropa (= core Europe). This idea envisaged that „core Europe“ would have a „centripetal effect“, a magnetic attraction for the rest of Europe. A precursor to that concept had been a proposal by two advisors to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Michael Mertes and Norbert J. Prill, published as early as July 1989. Mertes and Prill called for a concentric circles Europe, built around a federal core consisting of the EU6 and like-minded EU member states.[5] In 1994 they partly revoked their original idea, arguing that the post-Cold War EU would rather look like a „Europe of Olympic rings“ than a „Europe of concentric circles“.[6]

The multi-speed Europe concept has been debated for years in European political circles, as a way to solve some institutional issues. The concept is that the more members there are in the Union, the more difficult it becomes to reach consensus on various topics, and the less likely it is that all would advance at the same pace in various fields.

Intermediate forms could be limited to some areas of close cooperation, as some historical examples are given below. It is also possible now for a minimum of eight EU member states to use enhanced co-operation, but this new framework has been used only once. A second proposal, a unified European patent, is nearing completion [as of December 2010] with only two countries (Italy and Spain) not participating.[7]

This idea has been revived recently because of various events, such as

  • the Euro with 17 EU member-states and three more in ERM II on track to joining. All but two states (Denmark, United Kingdom) have agreed by treaty to join but at least one of those treaty signatories (Sweden) has made no further steps to do so.
  • the Schengen area Treaty leading to a common border for many EU states (it currently excludes Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom) but which includes three non-EU members - Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. It is often asserted that Ireland only reluctantly agreed to stay out of the treaty to avoid creating a physical border between the Republic and Northern Ireland because the UK had refused to sign.[8]
  • other initiatives limited to some states, such as the European Defence initiative and Prüm Convention.
  • the enlargement of the European Union to 27 member-states, with the prospect of accepting in the forthcoming years other candidates (Turkey and Iceland among others) where new members initially don't join the Schengen area and the Eurozone.
  • the European Convention that lead to the treaty of the European Constitution that has been signed in 2004 by the 25 Heads of State, but was not ratified by all national parliaments or assemblies and so failed. Later most of its provisions were adopted trough the Treaty of Lisbon that included additional opt-outs for some states.
  • differences of view between EU members on some foreign diplomatic and military issues.

The Economist in a 2004 article compared the variances of Europe to a lake that has many deep parts (areas in which countries are similar) and many shallow parts (areas in which countries have major differences).[9]

Currently in the EU there are the following cases of non-uniform application of the European Union law:

permanent deviations[10] request by states to cooperate more than EU
(post-accession: request to participate at EU level instead of less)
request by states to cooperate less than general EU level
allowed by the EU Enhanced co-operation Opt-outs in the European Union
Minor EU law derogations or exemptions
special territories status
not allowed by the EU Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification
Eurozone/Schengen suspensions
(post accession: benchmarks for adoption of EU level)
potentially any Legislation adopted per
QMV instead of unanimous voting

Overview of non-uniformity inside the EU

Council of Europe Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia Georgia Moldova Montenegro Macedonia Russia Serbia Ukraine European Free Trade Association Switzerland Liechtenstein Iceland Norway European Union Customs Union Andorra Turkey San Marino Monaco European Union Bulgaria Romania United Kingdom Czech Republic Denmark Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Sweden Eurozone Cyprus Republic of Ireland Austria Belgium Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Italy Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain European Economic Area Schengen Area International status and usage of the euro#States with issuing rights Vatican City
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations.vde
Multispeed European Union 2011:
EU countries integrated in all areas (blue)
EU countries with exceptions (green)
and non-EU countries integrated in the
Single Market and Schengen (green-yellow)
Participant CSDP PJC CFR Prüm Symbols Divorce Patent Schengen Euro
France France x x x x x x x x
Germany Germany x x x x x x x x x
Italy Italy x x x c x x x x
Belgium Belgium x x x x x x x x x
Netherlands Netherlands x x x x x x x
Luxembourg Luxembourg x x x x x x x x x
United Kingdom United Kingdom x x
Denmark Denmark x x x
Republic of Ireland Ireland x x x x
Greece Greece x x x c x x x x
Spain Spain x x x x x x x x
Portugal Portugal x x x c x x x x x
Austria Austria x x x x x x x x x
Finland Finland x x x x x x x
Sweden Sweden x x x c x x c
Lithuania Lithuania x x x x x x c
Latvia Latvia x x x x x x c
Estonia Estonia x x x x x x x
Poland Poland x x x x c
Czech Republic Czech Republic x x x x c
Slovakia Slovakia x x x c x x x x
Hungary Hungary x x x x x x x x c
Slovenia Slovenia x x x x x x x x x
Malta Malta x x x x x x x x
Cyprus Cyprus x x x x x c x
Bulgaria Bulgaria x c x c x x x c c
Romania Romania x c x x x x x c c
Participant CSDP PJC CFR Prüm Symbols Divorce Patent Schengen Euro

x - member
c - conditions to be fulfilled before joining or candidate

Participation of non-EU countries in EU integration initiatives

For integration activities not initiated by the EU see European integration

A number of countries have special relations to the European Union implementing most of its regulations. Prominently there are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein which are the only remaining EFTA members while all other former EFTA members have converted into EU members. Through agreements Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (not including Switzerland) are members of the European Economic Area since 1994. As a consequence of taking part in the EU single market they need to adopt part of the Law of the European Union. Formally they would not need to fund the EU government but in practice they have opted to take on their part of financing EU institutions as required by EU law (see EEA and Norway Grants) with the financial footprint of Norway being equal to that of an EU member since 2009. Especially Norway and Iceland are known to forfeit EU membership on the basis of EU fishery regulations that they want to opt-out on. Both Norway and Iceland have signed and implemented the Schengen zone agreements. During the turmoils of the financial crisis Iceland was looking into membership of the Eurozone and it did formally apply to EU membership in 2009. Norway has joined all EU political treaties and it has applied to EU membership multiple times but while fulfilling the requirements the government was vetoed by public vote in their own country in 1972 and 1994. This leaves Norway to be integrated into Inner Europe's institutions while not being part their governing body.

Participant CSDP PJC CFR Prüm Symbols Divorce Patent Schengen Euro CU Single market Energy Community ECT ECAA CoBx EEA EMCDDA EMSA EASA ERA EDA
Albania Albania EU applicant (c) x x x x
Andorra Andorra s x
Armenia Armenia
Austria Austria x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
Belarus Belarus
Belgium Belgium x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina EU official potential candidate (c) x s
Bulgaria Bulgaria x c x c x x x c c x x x x s x x x x x
Croatia Croatia EU candidate (c) x x x
Cyprus Cyprus x x x x x c x x x x x x x x x x x
Czech Republic Czech Republic x x x x c x x x x x x x x x x
Denmark Denmark x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Estonia Estonia x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Finland Finland x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
France France x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Georgia (country) Georgia x
Germany Germany x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Greece Greece x x x c x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Hungary Hungary x x x x x x x x c x x x x x x x x x x
Iceland Iceland EU candidate (c) x x s x x x x x
Republic of Ireland Ireland x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Italy Italy x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan s
  UNMIK EU official potential candidate (c) x x
Latvia Latvia x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein c x x x x
Lithuania Lithuania x x x x x x c x x x x x x x x x x
Luxembourg Luxembourg x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia EU candidate (c) x s
Malta Malta x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Moldova Moldova x s
Monaco Monaco s s s s
Montenegro Montenegro EU candidate (c) x
Netherlands Netherlands x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Norway Norway x x x x x x x x x
Poland Poland x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Portugal Portugal x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Romania Romania x c x x x x x c c x x x x x x x x x x
Russia Russia s
San Marino San Marino s s
Serbia Serbia EU applicant (c) s x x
Slovakia Slovakia x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Slovenia Slovenia x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Spain Spain x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Sweden Sweden x x x c x x c x x x x x x x x x x
Switzerland Switzerland x x x x x
Turkey Turkey EU candidate (c) x x x
Ukraine Ukraine x x
United Kingdom United Kingdom x x x x x x x x x x x x
Vatican City Vatican City s s


Participant CSDP PJC CFR Prüm Symbols Divorce Patent Schengen Euro CU Single market Energy Community ECT ECAA CoBx EEA EMCDDA EMSA EASA ERA EDA

x - member
c - conditions to be fulfilled before joining
s - unilateral adoption/participation trough another state who is a member/some instruments signed, but not yet ratified

See also

References

  1. ^ The Reform Treaty & Justice and Home Affairs
  2. ^ The Evolution of Flexible Integration in European Defence Policy
  3. ^ Marcin Zaborowski: Germany and EU Enlargement: From Rapprochement to „Reaproachment“? In: Helene Sjursen (Ed.), Enlargement in perspective, p. 46.
  4. ^ Karl Lamers / Wolfgang Schäuble: Überlegungen zur europäischen Politik (Reflections on European Policy). See also Gilles Andréani: What future for federalism?, Centre for European Reform Essays, September 2002, ISBN 1 901229 33 5, p. 7-8.
  5. ^ Michael Mertes / Norbert J. Prill: Der verhängnisvolle Irrtum eines Entweder-Oder. Eine Vision für Europa, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung July 19, 1989.
  6. ^ Michael Mertes / Norbert J. Prill: Es wächst zusammen, was zusammengehören will. „Maastricht Zwei“ muss die Europäische Union flexibel machen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung December 9, 1994, p. 11.
  7. ^ Countries press ahead with limited single EU patent plan
  8. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (1998-03-12). "Volume: 587, Part: 120 (12 Mar 1998: Column 391, Baroness Williams of Crosby)". House of Lords Hansard. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199798/ldhansrd/vo980312/text/80312-21.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  9. ^ The Economist: 'Coalitions for the willing'.
  10. ^ In addition to the permanent deviations there are temporary transition periods for the application of certain EU law provisions in some member states, but these have an already set dates for lapsing.

External links


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