THE PROS AND CONS OF INTEGRATION VS. DISINTEGRATION SCENARIOS FOR EUROPE
The purpose of the study is to discuss the ongoing debate on the future of the EU, with reference to the scenarios formulated by the European Commission, as well as other interesting concepts, and to indicate the most probable scenario that the EU would follow. The method used in the research is studies of the scientific publications, comparison and evaluation of alternative integration scenarios and interpretation of selected legal issues related to the division of competences between the EU and the Member States (MS). The main tasks are as follows: (i) to prove that the concurrent debate about the future of the EU is not “new” and similar questions were asked since the birth of the integration processes, (ii) the usage of sovereignty concept to interpret different demand for integration of the MS, (iii) identification of links between globalisation, integration and the crisis as well as (iv) comparisons of different scenarios related to further (dis)integration within the EU and their consequences. The novelty of the paper is that it relates the integration scenarios formulated by the European Commission to the issue of sovereignty as well as to historical and legal background of the European integration.
Out of the possible scenarios proposed, multi-speed Europe is the most probable one. The real challenge, if this scenario will evolve, is to safeguard the possibility for the “lagging countries”, to join the (more integrated) leaders – if the former will be ready to do so. The challenge is to make the multi-speed Europe – an inclusive concept. Multiple speeds have in fact existed within the EU, as there always have been and will be those who are the laggards and the leaders.
The awareness of the European issues has been increasing, as suggested by De Wilde & Zürn (2012). However, the EU will go through serious changes, consequences of which deserve thorough debate in order to disseminate knowledge on the consequences of the strategic choices ahead of the MS.