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Out in the cold? Flexible integration and the political status of Euro opt-outs

Journal article
Authors Rutger Lindahl
Daniel Naurin
Published in European Union Politics
Volume Vol 11
Issue Nr 4
Pages 485-510
ISSN 1465-1165
Publication year 2010
Published at Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Department of Political Science
Pages 485-510
Language en
Keywords Keywords Council of the European Union, economic and monetary union, flexible integration,
Subject categories Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified


A common argument against flexible integration as a solution to increased preference heterogeneity is that a likely consequence for those member states opting out of the enhanced cooperation is a loss of status and influence generally in the European Union (EU). It has been argued, for example, that the decisions by Denmark, Sweden and the UK not to join the Euro is considered to be free-riding, which leads to a bad reputation and exclusion from informal networks. We test this proposed free-rider effect by comparing the network capital of Euro-outsiders with insiders in the Council of the EU, using survey data of more than 600 member state representatives. The findings speak strongly against the free-rider hypothesis, as the Euro-outsiders are highly ranked in terms of network capital.

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