Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Editorial | Open Access

The Causes and Modes of European Disintegration

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Abstract:  This thematic issue on the causes and modes of European disintegration seeks to answer two main questions: What are the causes of (potential) European disintegration across countries? And what are the actual and potential modes of European disintegration? The articles on the causes of EU disintegration go beyond the immediate causes of Brexit, to date the prime example of European disintegration. They address, for instance, the impact of ignoring the results of referendums on EU treaty changes. The articles demonstrate that the extensively studied proximate causes of Brexit may be different from more long-term drivers of potential disintegration in the UK and other member states. The second question raises a point that has been largely overlooked. Going beyond the growing literature on Brexit, differentiated integration, and non-compliance, the articles on the modes of European disintegration address issues such as (temporary) opt-outs from the Schengen agreement. The thematic issue is innovative not only due to the questions it raises but also by deploying a multi-disciplinary social science perspective. Contributions are quantitative, qualitative, and theoretical from a wide array of social science disciplines. Taken together, the contributions to this thematic issue advance scholarly understanding of European (dis)integration.

Keywords:  European Union; disintegration; euroscepticism; Brexit; withdrawal; secession; Schengen



© Martijn Huysmans, Sven Van Kerckhoven. 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.