Episode 7: European Disintegration – Is Differentiated Integration the Answer to Euroscepticism?

Differentiated integration is an important part of understanding how an ever-larger European Union copes (or fails to cope) with the diversity of interests and resources among its 27 Member States. But the idea that not all states are able or want to integrate at the same pace or to the same degree is also one of the core tensions underpinning crises such as Brexit, Eurozone inequality, and rising nationalism and Euroscepticism. In the first episode of the new season, we talk to Dr Benjamin Leruth from the University of Groningen about how differentiated integration works, why some countries prefer it, and what it can tell us about Euroscepticism and the future of the EU.

You can also listen to the episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, and Radio Public.

References in the episode:

Benjamin Leruth, ‘Differentiation as a Response to Crises?’, in Nathalie Brack and Seda Gürkan (eds), Theorising the Crises of the European Union, Routledge, 2021, pp.226-245.

Dirk Leuffen, Julian Scheussler and Jana Gómez Díaz, ‘Public support for differentiated integration: individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination’, Journal of European Public Policy, Published online Oct 2020.

Paul Taggart, ‘A touchstone of dissent: Euroscepticism in contemporary Western European party systems’, European Journal of Political Research, 33(3), 1998, pp.363-388.

Paul Taggart and Aleks Sczerbiak, ‘Contemporary Euroscepticism in the party systems of the European Union candidate states of Central and Eastern Europe’, European Journal of Political Research, 43(1), 2004, pp.1-27.

Stephen George, An Awkward Partner: Britain in the European Community, Oxford University Press, 1998.

Simon Usherwood and Nicholas Startin, ‘Euroscepticism as a persistent phenomenon’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 51(1), 2013, pp.1-16.

Boris Johnson, in “‘We will now open a new chapter in our national story’: Boris Johnson issues rallying cry to the nation on the day of his historic Brexit deal vote”, Daily Mail, 30 December 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9096997/Boris-Johnson-hail-new-chapter-British-history-day-historic-Brexit-deal-vote.html

Catherine de Vries, Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology, Harvard University Press, 2020.

L’auberge espagnole (Potluck in English) 2002, directed by Cédric Klapisch.


Benjamin Leruth

Dr Benjamin Leruth is an Assistant Professor in Politics and Society at the University of Groningen, specialising in comparative politics and welfare policy, Euroscepticism, democratic innovations, and differentiated European (dis)integration. He is the co-author and co-editor of various books, including Euroscepticism as a Transnational and Pan-European Phenomenon (Routledge, 2017); After Austerity (Oxford University Press, 2017); the Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism (Routledge, 2018); Attitudes, Aspirations and Welfare (Palgrave, 2018); and Differentiated Integration and Disintegration in a Post-Brexit Era (Routledge, 2020). His articles have been published in journals such as Policy & Politics, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Common Market Studies, Comparative European Politics, and Social Policy & Administration. He is currently co-editing the forthcoming Routledge Handbook on Differentiation in the European Union.

Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz

Dr Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz is the host of the EuroStorie Podcast. She is a postdoctoral researcher in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. She is a legal historian and classical archaeologist whose research focuses on management of cultural heritage and its political and social impact, maritime archaeology, ancient law and legal anthropology.


Zoë Jay

Dr Zoë Jay is the host of the EuroStorie Podcast. She is a post-doctoral researcher at EuroStorie in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. She has a background in international relations and political science, and her research focuses on European politics and culture, human rights, and the politics of international law and institutions.



Episode no: 7
Date recorded: 2.1.2021
Release date: 9 March 2021
Episode Production, Recording and Editing: Zoë Jay and Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz
Music: Antonio Lopez Garcia
Transcript: Karla Schröter
Web Content: Sara Heinonen
Banner: Tuomas Heikkilä
Banner photo: Unsplash/Jakob Braun