Bildet viser EU-flagg Foto: Etienne Ansotte/EC Audiovisual Sevice
Research Project

Balancing between integration and autonomy. Understanding the drivers and mechanisms of EU's foreign, security and defense policy (EUFLEX)

2019 - 2021 (Ongoing)

The project will investigate the ongoing process towards differentiated integration in European foreign, security and defence policy.

In an international context that is constantly shifting, we need a better understanding of how various global and regional challenges affect Europe.

Our starting point is an assumption that global shifts and regional challenges add a completely new dimension to the European decision trap: States, or decision-makers, no longer face only a choice pf how to improve their influence within Europe and the EU system, but are also increasingly faced with an "exit" option.

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. Balancing between autonomy and integration has been a key question throughout the history of European integration, but it has become more urgent following the British government decision to withdraw from the EU. While the existing literature has focused primarily on why integration takes place in spite of this dilemma, EUFLEX will be more interested in investigating what kind of integration it produces. In the current situation, it is likely that we will see a process of more flexible integration. However, we know little about what it means in practice, and how will it be addressed by different actors and levels of government (the EU, the member states and associated member states).

EUFLEX is organized into three overarching thematic areas focusing on how different levels relate to the dilemma of integration and autonomy in the area of foreign policy and diplomatic integration, regional integration and security community building and defence integration.

For more information on NUPI's research on Europe and the EU, please visit NUPI Centre for European Studies.

Scroll down to see academic publications, op-eds and lectures related to this project. See also the NUPI School article Brexit: Hvor går veien videre? (Haugevik, April 2021).

Funding program

The Research Council of Norway (Europa i endring)