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Flexible Integration and the Constitutional Treaty: an Instrument with Little Purpose?

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Chapter Summary

Flexible integration is time and again - in various conceptual disguises - mentioned in the debate on European integration. Reference to the use of flexibility also reflects an uncertainty as to which direction European cooperation is taking. Flexible arrangements have been a central element in the history of European integration and consequently have also been present at its earlier stages. This chapter analyses the changes in the flexibility provisions introduced in the Constitutional Treaty. A precondition for this objective is an understanding of the previous steps taken to institutionalise flexible integration in the treaty framework. Firstly, a short introduction to and comparison of flexible integration in the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties is provided. Secondly, flexible integration in the Constitutional Treaty is analysed by focusing on the Convention and on the articles on enhanced cooperation. Finally, the chapter elaborates on the future of flexible integration.

Keywords: Amsterdam Treaty; Constitutional Treaty; European integration; flexible integration; treaty framework; Treaty of Nice



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