Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The Debate on the European Union’s Future From the Perspective of Regional Members of Parliament

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Abstract:  Differentiated integration has become ubiquitous in the European Union today. However, the evaluation of differentiated integration by the academic community is much contested: While some see it as a remedy to political gridlock, others think of it as the beginning of the end of the EU (i.e., disintegration). Our article sheds light on the relationship between differentiated integration and disintegration from the viewpoint of subnational members of Parliament. Assuming that at least some scenarios of differentiated integration are related to disintegration, we report on data from a survey of seven EU member states about subnational members of Parliament’s preferences regarding future scenarios for the EU. Our results find that a preference for a Europe with a singular focus on “nothing but the single market” is related to a functionalist approach towards European integration and the perceived disintegration of the EU. This preference is especially prevalent among subnational MPs in the Czech Republic and Poland, both known for having opt-out solutions. While the Czech Republic constantly shows high levels of Euroscepticism in public surveys, the reverse is true in Poland. Obviously, a general commitment to the EU should not be equated with a shared common goal of further European integration. If such differences become permanent, European integration may genuinely be endangered.

Keywords:  differentiated integration; European disintegration; regional members of Parliament; regional parliaments


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© Elisabeth Donat, Simon Lenhart. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.