European Variations as Key to Cooperation

The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) translated its study about the future of the European Union. Variation in the European Union focuses on the way in which the Member States can continue cooperating in a productive and constructive manner and the degree to which they should or should not strive to achieve uniformity in that cooperation.

European Variations as Key to Cooperation

(An animation.)

VOICE-OVER: Since its founding
the European Union has experienced decades of increasing cooperation.

(A timeline with photos.)

The idea exists that the EU is organising a growing number of tasks and powers
at the supranational level.
Some supporters see this as an inevitable development.
Pursuing the ideal of a federal Europe,
with every country being a member state and all legislation being harmonised.
As a result of various developments, however, the EU is under pressure.
After all, opposing tendencies are becoming increasingly visible.
A growing number of people see this ideal image more as a threat.
They wish to return tasks and powers to the nation states,
which subsequently coordinate all cross-border issues
at an intergovernmental level.
Does this one-dimensional view do justice to reality?
The answer is no.
In fact, there are endless forms of variation possible within the EU,
if you take a three-dimensional approach.
Policy content.
Decision-making.
And membership.
These dimensions and the variations within the EU
are not theoretical or hypothetical.
Several examples can be found within the EU treaties.
And when the EU treaties are amended, the variation increases.
When you consider this wealth of variation,
letting go of the fixation on greater uniformity or on national interest
appears to offer new opportunities for a debate
about the future of European integration.
A debate that does greater justice to reality than one-dimensional ideal types.
Variation in policy content, decision-making and membership
proves to be a strength, rather than a weakness.
A Union that offers unity in diversity is a Union offering a future.

(On-screen text: WRR, Scientific Council for Government Policy. www.wrr.nl.)

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