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Integrating Diversity in the European Union

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InDivEU (Integrating Diversity in the European Union)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

At the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, Europe finds itself at a critical juncture in its development. Over time, increasing heterogeneity in the EU led to more Differentiated Integration (DI) and Brexit brings the distinction between internal and external differentiation sharply into focus. InDivEU is an ambitious project that seeks to maximize our knowledge of DI at this stage in the evolution of the European Union (EU). The overarching aim of the consortium is to build a knowledge hub on DI as a contribution to the Union’s policy process, governance regimes and to the continuing debate on the Future of Europe. The project is not just of academic interest but will contribute to the world of practice as the EU27 forges its future. Understanding how DI has evolved and its causes and effects is essential to the development of the EU and its relations with its neighbours. Based on theoretically robust foundations and an innovative analytical framework, InDivEU will develop scenarios on the future role of DI in the dynamic of European Integration. In order to build a comprehensive knowledge hub, the objectives of InDivEU encompass (a) models and visions of DI, (b) the preferences and politics of DI and (c) the causes and effects of DI.
The architecture of the project rests on four building blocks. Block one consists of three work packages-the philosophical foundations of a fair system of DI (WP1), legal feasibility and constitutional acceptability of DI (WP2) and what citizens, governments and parties want from DI (WP3). Work on W1 and 2 is critical to the project as it establishes the criteria for building and assessing scenarios which is the culmination of the project. WP3 is path breaking as our knowledge on what citizens, governments and parties want of DI is fragmentary and limited. The focus in this period was on the design of templates and survey experiments for data collection. Block 2 focuses on the patterns, causes and effects of DI (WP4). In RP1, the main task in WP4 was on updating and expanding the EUDIFF1 and EUDIFF2 datasets on primary-law and secondary-law differentiation, respectively. Both datasets were updated for the time-period including 2018. In addition, in cooperation with the partner from the Liechtenstein Institute, the selective adoption of EU secondary law in the EFTA countries (EEA and Switzerland) was included in the EUDIFF2 dataset. Block 3-zooming in- consists of four WPs, internal differentiation (WP5), external differentiation (WP6), differentiated implementation (WP7) and alternatives to DI (WP8). Case studies are an essential component of InDivEU as they enable us to zoom-in on DI in relation to particular policies or geographic areas. In RP1, WP5 on core state powers focused on two case studies, the Schengen system and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). These cases relate to the borders of the Union and its actions beyond the EU territory. On Schengen, detailed data was collected on two important EU agencies, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). This included data on the regulation of the agencies, their budgets, equipment and staffing profiles. The work on the CFSP analysed the European Defence Agency (EDF) from its establishment in 2004 to 2019 and the 37 civilian and military missions undertaken by the EU from 2003 to 2019. WP6 offers a series of case studies on the relationship between the EU and its neighbours, notably the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states, Turkey and the UK. The decision by the UK to exit the EU has brought the dynamic of external differentiation sharply into focus as the EU and UK work out their future relationship following 47 years of membership. A distinctive element of the InDivEU project is to assess alternatives to DI. WP7 is developing a dataset on differentiation through flexible implementation. The codebook for data gathering is complete and work has begun on the completion of the data set. WP8 adopts the lens of experimental governance and conducted case studies on EU energy regulation, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and EU financial regulations during this RP. Block 4 on synthesising and designing scenarios for DI comes in the latter half of the project.
InDivEU, although its first year has just ended, has made considerable progress in a number of critical areas. First, the up-dating and expansion of the two data sets, EUDIFF1 and EUDIFF2 offers the most extensive and complete time series on DI that exists, including primary-law and secondary-law differentiation from 1958 to 2018, a time span of sixty years. The datasets include information on exempted and excluded countries, on the affected policies, on the duration of differentiation and on the decision-making rules. The two datasets are essential to the building of a knowledge hub and there are no equivalent datasets available. Second, the work on a fair system of D1 establishes normative benchmarks for assessing DI in practice. This work is complemented by the work on the legal and constitutional feasibility of DI. Third, the focus on the politics of DI and the preferences of governments, parties and citizens is path breaking as there is a gap in our knowledge of what these major societal actors want of DI. Fourth, the research on core state powers is vital as DI is more prevalent in these areas of policy and we need to understand what drives this and what its effects are. Fifth, Brexit has fundamentally altered the nature and dynamic of external differentiation because the departure of a state from the EU is unprecedented and the Union has to work out its future relationship with the UK that is itself internally riven by Brexit. The additional comparative analysis of the different relationships that the Union has with EEA countries, Switzerland and Turkey offers a major contribution to our understanding of the role of the Union in its neighbourhood. Sixth, InDivEU understands DI as one of a number of strategies for addressing diversity and heterogeneity and thus analyses flexible implementation and experimental governance.
The InDivEU consortium is confident of creating a DI knowledge hub and designing scenarios for the future of DI by the end of the project. It will consist of state of the art data sets on DI, flexible implementation, and the preferences of governments, citizens and parties. The scenarios will be tested against the normative foundations of a fair system of DI and an assessment of their legal and constitutional feasibility. We will understand much more about the causes and effects of DI and the different dynamics of internal and external differentiation at a time when the EU is working out a new relationship with a departing state. InDivEU is building knowledge of immense societal importance as the EU designs governance structures and a policy toolkit at a time of major transformation.
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