Asymmetry as a way to move forward with multi-tiered integration? Constitutional asymmetries in the European Union

The European Union is a unique multi-tiered organisation aimed at integrating the economic and political systems of its diverse Member States. Originally set up around symmetrical governance principles, the extension of competences and enlargement of territories comprising the EU, differences in vision about how far the EU should go, have increased. To overcome those differences without discontinuing the European integration process, the EU framework has acknowledged different ways for differentiated or asymmetrical integration, without completely overhauling the EU’s overall symmetrical features. This paper categorizes the different types of asymmetries prevailing in the current EU constitutional framework and sets out to explain their co-existence and role in the current stages of the EU integration project. This allows us to map the opportunities and limits the current EU constitutional framework poses.