Research Professor Pernille Rieker and Senior Research Fellow Kristin Haugevik from NUPI chaired a section on differentiated integration at the conference, which took place at Sofia University from 11 to 14 September.
The aim of the section, which consisted of three panels, was to examine how different actors and levels in the EU balance between the concerns for preserving national autonomy on the one hand, and loyalty to the European integration project on the other.
The section was a great success according to Professor Rieker:
'All the panels added to the discussion about differentiated integration. All participants contributed with both empirical analyses across policy fields and the discussion added considerable value to our conceptual understanding of differentiation.'
In addition to Rieker and Haugevik, NUPI researchers Marianne Riddervold, Christophe Hillion and Øyvind Svendsen contributed to the panels, as well as international colleagues such as Steven Blockmans (CEPS), Mark Rhinard (Stockholm University) and Matteo Bonini (IAI).
A larger project
The section and panels at the conference in Sofia were part of the research project Balancing between integration and autonomy (EUFLEX), funded by The Research Council of Norway.
The project investigates the ongoing process towards differentiated integration in European foreign, security and defence policy. The aim of EUFLEX is therefore to study how the EU, its member states as well as closely associated states, balance between the concerns for preserving national autonomy on the one hand and loyalty to the European integration project on the other.
Balancing between autonomy and integration has been a key question throughout the history of European integration, but it has become more urgent in recent years, not least following the British government’s decision to withdraw from the EU.
The project will run until 2021 and the discussions at the EISA Conference in Sofia proved promising with the regards to the forthcoming output of the research project.
Want to know more about NUPI's research on European and EU issues? Visit NUPI Centre for European Studies (NCE).