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Homogeneity and Differences: the Concept of a Core Europe for the Future?

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Chapter Summary

Especially at times when European integration is stagnating, the idea of a 'Core Europe' is discussed as a possible solution. In the German political and legal debate two events have been decisive. The first one concerns the questions surrounding EU enlargement and the second, EU institutional reform, in particular the project of a constitution for the European Union. The concept of a 'Core Europe', raises a series of difficult questions, some aspects are discussed in this chapter. The idea of a 'Core Europe' acts as a vehicle for integration. On the other hand, when this 'Core' is pre-determined and stable, it can arouse fears of hegemony and the existence of two classes of Member States within the Community. The EC Treaty itself has established various forms of differentiated integration, which are exceptions from the general principle of homogeneity as a basis of Union law.

Keywords: core Europe; EU institutional reform; European integration; German political debate



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