UCL Faculty of Laws


Forward or Back: The Future of European Integration and the Impossibility of the Status Quo

Ronan McCrea

30 March 2017

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This article considers how the legal and political order of the European Union can cope if the ‘Ever Closer Union’ envisaged by the Treaties ceases to be inevitable. In particular, it focuses on what are the likely consequences if previously successful integration mechanisms such as integration through law (including adventurous pro-integration interpretation by the CJEU) and functional integration, can no longer successfully push forward the integration process. It considers whether it is possible for the Union to ‘stand still’, that is, to maintain the current level of integration without either moving forward to more intensive integration or engaging in costly and disruptive disintegration. In order to substantiate this claim, the article looks at three areas, the law of citizenship, the Eurozone and the legislative structures of the Union, showing in each case that the current degree of integration cannot provide a long term basis for policy.