"An EU with Variable Geometry Would Restore Dynamism to European Development"


Speaking at the European Parliament today, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker presented his White Paper on the future of the EU. President of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) Professor Achim Wambach has subsequently commented:

"Out of the five future scenarios for the EU presented by Jean-Claude Juncker today, it is the third option which, based on the success achieved so far, allows willing Member States to work more closely together than other States in specific policy areas. The result would be a Europe with "variable geometry". This is to a great extent already a reality in today's EU in which there are certain projects such as the Schengen zone or the euro in which not all Member States are involved.

In the wake of Brexit, which made it clear that not every Member State is willing to join particular projects now or at any point, an EU with variable geometry opens up an opportunity to restore some dynamism to European development. The EU's strength stems from the fact that it implements projects which can be tackled more effectively and efficiently through collaboration than they would be on a purely national level. As a result, the creation of the European Single Market has undoubtedly helped to increase the wealth of EU nations. And the same could also apply to a collective policy regarding refugees, foreign affairs and defence.

In this case, Member States interested in closer cooperation could act as the forerunners in projects which some other countries are unwilling to get involved in. If these projects are successful, then others may join. This again makes it possible to tackle new, pioneering projects in the field of digitisation, for instance. At the same time, this will combat accusations of excessive heteronomy on the part of Brussels, since in the end it is up to each individual national government to decide whether they want to take part in a project or remain on the sidelines."


For further information please contact:

Prof. Achim Wambach, PhD, Phone +49 (0)621/1235-100, E-mail wambach@zew.de