Full text: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - 2018 Heft 2 (2)

policymakers should bear in mind when using this concept to underpin
their political strategies.
2. „Multi-speed“ Europe
In recent years, the European Union has faced the most severe crisis
since its existence. The private debt crisis followed by a public debt crisis
has created economic stagnation and high rates of unemployment in many
parts of Europe. Serious doubts have been raised about the design and vi-
ability of the single currency, and simply keeping the European Union inte-
grated and stable has been a challenge for politicians. In addition to an in-
creasing sense of economic insecurity, recent developments in migration
trends have led to a rise in popularity of far-right parties that promote na-
tionalist and protectionist views and Euroscepticism, both in countries that
have been part of the EU-project from the beginning and in new Member
States. In Britain, this led to the decision to leave the EU.
Figure 1: Frequency of the search terms „multi-speed europe“ and
„multi-speed europe“ on Google since 2004
Google Trends data, own representation.
This was the situation when Commission president Jean Claude Juncker
put the idea of a Europe of different speeds back on the table in his „White
Paper on the Future of Europe – Reflections and scenarios for the EU-27
by 2025“, published in March 2017. The resurgence in interest is reflected
in the Google searches of the term (see figure 1). Juncker does not use the
term directly but proposes a closer union of „those who want to do more“
as one of five possible scenarios for the future of the European Union (Eu-
ropean Commission, 2017).
While such increased cooperation of a smaller number of countries could
facilitate policy progress on issues that are blocked by a veto of one or a
few countries, the general idea of multi-speed is not supported by all Mem-
Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 44. Jahrgang (2018), Heft 2

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