Regional Integration in the European Union: Enlargement without Constitution
Much of the debate on regional integration in the European Union (EU) has for a long time focused on the ‘deepening’ and ‘widening’ of the integration project, and the balance between these two movements. The process as such was usually not questioned; the debates evolved around issues of speed, sequencing, balancing, etc. However, it seems that we now entered a (transition?) phase in which several European actors and sectors of the public opinion are putting forward a number of fundamental questions about the regional integration process in the EU. On the one hand, the further deepening of the process and the strengthening of the regional governance level is being questioned. The proposal for a European Constitution and the ratification process have certainly acted as a catalyst in this respect. After the negative results of the French and Dutch referenda, the European Council itself called for a period of reflection and discussion in June 2005. In the same period, and symptomatically, the Bolkestein services Directive met with fierce opposition and had to be re-drafted (see below).