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Concentric circles of flexible ‘EUropean’ integration: A typology of EU external governance relations

Published in Comparative European Politics. 2011, vol. 9, no. 4-5, p. 372-393
Abstract The deepening of the EU’s acquis communautaire, transformations of the European continent, and intensifying webs of interdependence have, since the 1990s, prompted a progressing blurring of the functional boundaries of the European Union. Whereas the integration project has produced externalities early on, the EU has engaged in an active promotion of its norms and rules beyond the member states, designing concentric circles of flexible ‘EUropean’ integration. This article offers a typology of these evolving external circles of EU rule-export focusing on the European Economic Area, Swiss-EU bilateralism, the stabilization and enlargement policy towards the candidate countries of the Western Balkans, the European Neighbourhood Policy and countries beyond the neighbourhood. Drawing on the theoretical notion of external governance, it will be shown these outer circles of ‘EUropean’ integration fall into three groups. While the first group, the ‘quasi-member states’ of Western Europe, combine far-reaching regulatory alignment with limited opportunities for organizational inclusion in EU structures, the Eastern and Southern neighbours face less legalized forms of rule transfer along with the establishment of parallel regional organizational structures. Links with countries beyond the neighbourhood finally stress the functionally differentiated rather than political and territorial dynamics of EU external governance.
Keywords EU enlargementExternal governanceEuropean Economic AreaFlexible integrationEuropean Neighbourhood PolicyWestern Balkans
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LAVENEX, Sandra. Concentric circles of flexible ‘EUropean’ integration: A typology of EU external governance relations. In: Comparative European Politics, 2011, vol. 9, n° 4-5, p. 372-393. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:76472

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Deposited on : 2015-10-23

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