ARENA Tuesday seminar: Simona Piattoni

Simona Piattoni presents the paper 'Differentiation and democracy' on 18 February at ARENA. 

Image of Simona Piattoni


In an effort to reconcile as much as possible 'community' with 'autonomy' (Scharpf 2010), the European Union has often resorted to conceding exemptions and opt-outs to its member states. What was initially hailed as a cautious and pragmatic approach aimed at moving integration forward despite strong differences in national policy preferences has recently begun to be seen as a possible sign of incipient disintegration. In reality, differentiated integration has always received a dubious assessment as it created different rights and duties regimes for the citizens of the different member states. As we enter a particularly delicate phase of the Union’s existence, in which democratic considerations take centre stage in assessing its desirability and future viability, de facto or de jure unevenness in the treatment of member states and their citizens reveal the existence of enduring power differentials among the member states. EU democracy cannot avoid to measure itself up not just with formal differentiation, but also with substantial differentiation, i.e., with the differential capacity of citizens to take advantage of the opportunities that the Union provides and which should be secured by the much cherished notion of “cohesion”. This paper discusses the problematic nature of this situation from a democratic point of view, but it will also question whether, in interconnected settings like the EU, it is reasonable to use the same standards that we would apply to national democracies, discussing the fine line that separates influence from domination. The disintegration of the Union might come from a rebellion against arbitrary interference rather than from its putative failure to achieve its stated goals.

Download paper: (available soon)

Published Jan. 15, 2020 12:17 PM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2020 11:17 AM