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Richard Bellamy, Sandra Kröger, and Marta Lorimer

Jan 24, 2022

Flexible Europe

Differentiated Integration, Democracy, and Domination

Bristol University Press 2022

The past decade has been pivotal in the development of the European Union.

The single currency has been tested to the limits by successive crises in the financial system, public-debt sustainability and public health. A migration crisis stress-tested the EU's free-travel area and its under-developed refugee and asylum policies. The Hungarian and Polish governments are backsliding on the union's foundational commitments to democracy and rule of law and, for the first time in the Communities' six-decade history, a full member state has left altogether.

The weaknesses of the EU’s part-federal, part-intergovernmental design have been exposed but so has its resilience through flexibility. Flexible Europe: Differentiated Integration, Fairness, and Democracy (Bristol University Press, 2022) explores this design and its "demoicratic" (not democratic) nature. Differentiated integration, the co-writers conclude, is “not only functionally necessary but also normatively desirable given the ineliminable diversity and pluralism of any union as large as the EU”.

Richard Bellamy is professor of political science at University College London and founder of its European Institute. Sandra Kröger is associate professor of political science at the University of Exeter and Director of its Centre for European Studies. Marta Lorimer is a fellow in European Politics at the London School of Economics’ European Institute.

*The authors' own book recommendations are: Worldmaking after Empire by Adom Getachew (Princeton University Press, 2020), Europa by Tim Parks (Vintage, 1998), The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (Profile Books, 2019), Where You Come From by Saša Stanišić (Jonathan Cape, 2021 - translated by Damion Searls), The Struggle for EU Legitimacy by Claudia Sternberg (Palgrave Macmillan; 2013), and The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese (first published in 1949 - latest English version from Penguin Modern Classics, 2021 translated by Tim Parks).

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors (a division of Energy Aspects).

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Tim Jones

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley advisors (a division of Energy Aspects).

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