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Enhanced Cooperation: Lowering the Restrictions and Creating the Basis of a Hard Core?

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Chapter Summary

Flexible arrangements have been a part of the European integration process since the 1950s. At the 2000 IGC, the issue of flexible integration was linked to the larger issue of how to reshape the institutional framework and how to resolve the so-called 'Amsterdam left-overs'. This chapter focuses on the changes in the flexibility provisions introduced with the Nice Treaty. It first provides an analysis of the agenda setting stage and the negotiation process of enhanced cooperation in the IGC 2000. Second, it presents and examines the flexibility provisions institutionalised in the Nice Treaty. Third, the chapter evaluates the applicability of liberal intergovernmentalism. Finally, it discusses the impact that the institutionalization of flexible integration might have on the process of European integration. The end result of the negotiations on enhanced cooperation seems to provide a satisfying solution to the 'euro-enthusiastic' as well as the 'eurosceptic' Member States.

Keywords: Amsterdam treaty; enhanced cooperation; European integration; flexibility provision; IGC 2000; liberal intergovernmentalism; Nice treaty



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