Differentiated integration within the EU legal order and beyond: a constitutional workaround?

With the stalling of the “semi-permanent” revision process of EU constitutional law after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, different types of differentiated integration came to the fore as potentially flexible means to unlock unanimity requirements and enable further integration. At first glance, the growing number of enhanced cooperation, both ordinary and atypical, the establishment of a Banking Union, and the repeated recourse to satellite treaties seems to confirm that potential. However, a closer look reveals a much more complex picture, in which not only the legal rigidities of unanimity requirements in light of highly divided policy preferences should be taken into account, but also the specific features of each type of differentiated integration, its basis within or beyond the EU legal order, or even gesture politics. This paper aims to identify these factors and reveal the potential function of differentiated integration as a constitutional workaround.