Recent challenges faced by the EU raise the question of whether Member States will continue on the same integrationist track. Differentiation, which has been core to the constitutional architecture of the EU, has gained prominence in the light of recent manifestations of centrifugal forces. The challenge is to ascertain whether and how much differentiation is necessary, conducive, sustainable and acceptable as well as how future approaches towards differentiation fare in the light of these findings.Scope:
a) Research and Innovation Action (2018)
Proposals should analyse the causes and effects of differentiated integration and under what conditions it facilitates policy-making, problem solving and policy implementation. They should also situate differentiated governance in its historical context and draw on previous experiences with differentiated governance and its relation to the experience of societal crises, as well as changes to the EU including enlargement. This should include in-depth comparative explorations of the philosophical foundations of different visions and conceptualisations of integration and differentiation as well as reappraising existing models and developing novel theories. Ramifications of different degrees and types of differentiation for narratives on European constitutionalism and identity should also be considered as well as the effects that these may have for potential accession countries. Opportunities, benefits and risks of more or less differentiation, both normatively and empirically, also including implications for democratic governance, should be studied. Consideration could be given to the perspectives for regional and local authorities. Historical and contemporary visions for Europe should be considered in their relation to differentiated integration.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
b) Coordination and Support Action (2019)
The coordination and support action should establish a research network aiming to support policy-making on differentiation both in advising on appropriate approaches to differentiation tendencies and proposals, but also with a view to better anticipating and preparing the EU for future differentiation scenarios.
To this end, it should take stock of and synthesise the results of research actions conducted at EU level and at other levels as relevant (e.g. national and regional). Collaboration with the projects funded under the research and innovation action under point a) in this topic is strongly encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
The actions will support policy decisions on different levels of differentiations across a comprehensive range of policy areas, thereby improving EU's capacity and resilience when it comes to constructively approaching and designing future differentiation scenarios. They will provide a comprehensive knowledge base upon which scenarios and models of future differentiation will be devised. By mobilising and linking experts and relevant stakeholders, the actions will contribute to linking research and policy in the area of differentiation.Cross-cutting Priorities:
This activity is directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders. It is excluded from the delegation to Research Executive Agency and will be implemented by the Commission services.