The Instrument of Enhanced Cooperation: Pitfalls and Possibilities for Differentiated Integration

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Setting the scene: Use and “non-use” of enhanced cooperation. – III. Legal framework for enhanced cooperation. – III.1. Establishing of enhanced cooperation. – III.2. The implementation of enhanced cooperation. – IV. On a related note: Pre-Brexit negotiations and differentiation. – V. Outlook: Dusk or dawn for enhanced cooperation?

Abstract: Enhanced cooperation under art. 20 TEU is a tool introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam to allow a group of at least nine member states to adopt rules of secondary law that binds only these participating States. Introduced as an instrument to tackle problems of a Union of 27 (and more) States, it has only been used on a few occasions. However, its use (and non-use) is not only dependent solely on the number of Union member states. Shifting political attitudes in the member states and – plainly and simply – the legal framework for this tool of differentiate integration influence how and when enhanced cooperation can and will be used as an instrument to overcome deadlocks in negotiation. Against the background of member state practice, the Article sets out to explore the potential of enhanced cooperation.

Keywords: enhanced cooperation – differentiation – Rome III – European Patent – financial transaction tax – EPPO.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 3, pp. 1145-1164
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/605

* Assistant professor for public law, University of Erfurt (Germany),


European Forum


Forum Européen


Forum europeo


Foro Europeo