The Politics of Differentiated Integration: the case of the Balkans
Most studies of differentiated integration are confined within the framework of the European Union (EU). The EU-Balkan relationship provides an opportunity to apply differentiated integration to links between the EU and a cluster of external states. Differentiated integration is at play in the relationship between the EU and the Balkans, especially in terms of time and space. Different states, at different times, have entered into binding contractual agreements with the EU, intended to enhance their ‘European perspective’. Objectives are seemingly common, there is a sequencing of commitments, and territorially we seek to prepare states so we can redraw our boundaries and include them within. Functionally differentiated integration as a concept faces a greater challenge as the Balkans are not part of the EU. Variable geometry and á la carte choices are not readily available to the Balkan states and as such their fate is decided by the existing membership and not by their own choices.
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