Differentiated Integration: Integration Concepts of the EFTA States and European Microstates


Under the term "differentiated integration", the different integration concepts of the EFTA states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland as well as the European micro-states Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are analysed. In a first step, the effectiveness of the existing integration regimes is examined. The focus is on the EEA, which represents the most far-reaching form of differentiated integration, both in terms of the policy areas covered and institutional cooperation. Which policy areas are covered by the EEA? What influence do the procedures and institutions of the EEA have on its functioning? And how can efficiency in the administration of the EEA Agreement be increased?

Based on the results of the analysis, further potential integration models will be considered. Although the EEA currently enjoys considerable support, dissolution, renegotiation or enlargement cannot be entirely ruled out. How would such a step affect existing institutional cooperation and the number of common policy areas between the EU and the non-member states mentioned above? A particular focus is on the concepts of sovereignty and legitimacy in the European integration process. A central finding of the research project is that different states are difficult to group together in the same integration model. Accordingly, an expansion of the EEA to include Switzerland or the European micro-states, for example, would negatively affect its functioning. 


Project duration: 2011–2023