Out in the cold? Flexible integration and the political status of Euro opt-outs
A common argument against flexible integration as a solution to increased preference heterogeneity is that a likely consequence for those member states opting out of the enhanced cooperation is a loss of status and influence generally in the European Union (EU). It has been argued, for example, that the decisions by Denmark, Sweden and the UK not to join the Euro is considered to be free-riding, which leads to a bad reputation and exclusion from informal networks. We test this proposed free-rider effect by comparing the network capital of Euro-outsiders with insiders in the Council of the EU, using survey data of more than 600 member state representatives. The findings speak strongly against the free-rider hypothesis, as the Euro-outsiders are highly ranked in terms of network capital.
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