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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The study of European regionalism and theories of European integration have become increasingly dominated by the study of the European Union and its organizational growth and performance. This chapter seeks to regain a regional perspective. It starts with a discussion of how “Europe” has been constructed as a civilizational and institutional region and how it has developed from being the core region of the global system to the divided region of the Cold War era and the post-1990 unified region. Rather than looking at regionalism as a process of uniform deepening and widening of the EU, the chapter conceives of European integration as the establishment of a region-wide system of differentiated integration, which extends to virtually all policy areas and countries but integrates them at different levels of centralization. Understanding European integration as differentiated region-building requires a refocusing of both theories and impact assessments of European integration.

Keywords: differentiated integration, Europe, European Union, integration, integration theory, regionalism

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