The Politics of Differentiated Integration: What do Governments Want? Country Report – Austria
35 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 2020
This working paper investigates the salience of and the position on Differentiated integration (DI) for the Austrian government. The analysis is based on both an analysis of government programmes, programmatic government speeches and parliamentary debates between 2004 and 2019/20. It shows that DI is overall not a salient issue in Austria, at least with regard to general DI concepts and models. Specific instances of DI were, of course, subjects of intense debates but, with very few exceptions such as the financial transaction tax as an instance of enhanced cooperation, rarely discussed with specific reference to DI. Overall, most Austrian parties are also not generally in favour of DI, quite the opposite. The dominant vision of the EU is that of a community of closely cooperating Member States with the same rights and responsibilities where opt-outs are seen as cherry picking. Only one party has forcefully supported the development of a core Europe, namely the right-wing populist Bündnis Zukunft Österreich (Alliance for the Future of Austria, BZÖ). In this case, however, DI is mainly regarded as a means to exclude groups of Member States (especially the financially more vulnerable or net recipients) from areas of integration.
Keywords: Differentiated Integration; Austria; Parliamentary Debates; Enhanced Cooperation; Opt-out
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