Autonomy without Collapse - Towards a Better Union?

4 April 2019, Jacques Delors Institut - Centre for European Affairs, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

The EU's history demonstrates numerous episodes in which individual or groups of Member States have sought to re-enforce their national autonomy in the face of deepening integration. Efforts to re-gain autonomy, however, are often accompanied by fears that autonomy will lead to dis-integration or will have wider destructive consequences. 

The EU thus faces a dilemma. It faces an unprecedented degree of contestation emerging from the national level and increasingly assertive calls for autonomy. These calls cannot all be dismissed as mere populist rhetoric or national egoism but represents a consistent (and legitimate) questioning of the degree of uniformity that EU law and politics presently carry. At the same time, the fear that greater autonomy may carry dis-integrative effects is also legitimate - uniformity is no mere accidental by-product of the EU's construction but intrinsically related to its policy goals of creating an area without internal borders, and often hailed by commentators as a key ingredient for overcoming collective action problems. Giving too much room for autonomy might create an opportunity structure for the loss of collective goods, and deficits in problem-solving (and perhaps even to self-destruction).

The EU requires autonomy, but in doing so, it must also avoid collapse. Can it achieve it and if so, how?

This workshop is devoted to exploring innovative answers to this question.


09.00 - 09.15 h: Registration & Coffee

09.15 - 10.00 h: Introduction - Mark Dawson & Markus Jachtenfuchs (Hertie School)

10.00 - 10.45 h: Differentiated Integration in the EU: From Theory to Design - Frank Schimmelfennig (ETH Zurich)

10.45 - 11.00 h: Coffee Break

11.00 - 11.45 h: Recalibrating the Balance: Enhanced Cooperation in EU Policy Implementation - Sebastian princen (University of Utrecht)

11.45 - 12.30 h: The Law as Tool and Constraint of Differentiated Integration - Bruno de Witte (EUI/Maastricht University)

12.30 - 13.30 h: Lunch

13.30 - 14.15 h: Recovering the Union's Mission in Difficult and Strange Times - Damian Chalmers (National University of Singapore)

14.15 - 15.00 h: Reconceiving Free Movement as a Public Good - Catherine Barnard (University of Cambridge)

15.00 - 15.15 h: Coffee Break

15.15 - 16.00 h: Governing by Judicial Fiat? Over-constituionalization and its Constraints on EU Legislation - Susanne K. Schmidt (University of Bremen)

16.00 - 16.45 h: Integration versus Autonomy - the European Council's Difficult Balancing Acts - Jon Erik Fossum (Arena/University of Oslo)

16.45 - 17.30 h: Wrap-up and Publication Plans