chapter  4
11 Pages

The European Court of Justice

This chapter examines a threefold typology of flexibility, identifying a multi-speed Europe, variable geometry and a la carte Europe as the most significant ideal types, and uses 'flexibility' as a generic term. In the mid-1990s flexibility seemed a panacea for the ills of the European Union (EU), allowing some Member States to forge ahead with further integration without requiring the participation of states unwilling or unable to proceed. A number of flexibility arrangements have been included in the Treaty of Amsterdam: a general clause permitting a majority of states to proceed with closer cooperation, subject to certain conditions; specific clauses allowing closer cooperation in certain policy areas; and a range of special arrangements for individual states. In a multi-speed Europe, the pursuit of common objectives is driven by a vanguard or core group of states who are permitted to proceed with further integration in new areas at a faster pace than other states.