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Flexible integration and the Amsterdam Treaty: negotiating differentiation in the 1996-97 IGC

Stubb, Alexander (1999) Flexible integration and the Amsterdam Treaty: negotiating differentiation in the 1996-97 IGC. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis analyses the development of the concept of flexible integration in the 1996-97 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) of the European Union (EU) and outlines an array of ideas, interests and issues at stake for the actors in the negotiations. The thesis has two objectives: (1) to explain the 1996-97 IGC process of negotiation which led to the institutionalisation of flexible integration in the Amsterdam Treaty and (2) to analyse the substance of the flexibility debate from the early 1970s to the present day. The research aims to show that flexibility comes to the fore whenever at least one of the following five issues is debated on the European level: (1) economic and monetary union, (2) free movement, (3) defence, (4) enlargement and (5) the exclusion of recalcitrant member states. The 1996-97 IGC was exceptional in that it met all the five criteria which have a tendency to trigger the flexibility debate. The thesis has three basic lines of argumentation. The first relates to the ICC process, the argument being that the 1996-97 IGC negotiations on flexibility were m incremental learning process where the basic positions of the member governments illustrated some continuity, but the specific positions of the negotiators fluctuated with the dynamics of the negotiations. The second line of argumentation relates to the concept of flexibility itself (substance), the argument being that one of the main difficulties with the flexibility negotiations was that flexibility meant different things to different people. Member governments did not necessarily agree about its purpose. The final strand of argumentation relates to the key players in the flexibility debate. Although all member states, large and small, played an important role in the IGC process, the most influential actors in the 1996-97 IGC were the civil servants of the respective Presidencies and the Council Secretariat.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1999 Alexander Cai-Goran Stubb
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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