Summary: The aim of this paper is to show how and to what extent short-run differentiation through closer cooperation within the European Union can actually be made compatible with the objective of long-run unity. This question is addressed in a framework for analysis based on public goods theory and taking into account past European experiences. The paper tries to identify areas of potentially successful closer cooperation through a joint analysis of the legal framework, initial political preferences, and eventual centripetal effects on initially unwilling outsiders. The paper concludes that closer cooperation should mainly be used in policy areas that have the character of club or network goods and therefore develop strong centripetal effects.
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58 p.
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