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Journal of Liberty and International Affairs


 Given the current state of the EU, it can be concluded that the EU Member States are not yet prepared to move beyond their national interests, and invest their energies in the interest of the EU. So, the need for applying a new integration concept is more than necessary. Because, is more than obvious, that the modern reasoning of the EU Member States gradually destroys the great idea of European unification. One of the most popular approaches towards the “revolutionizing” of the EU is the concept of avant-garde Europe, predominantly promoted by Joschka Fischer, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Jacques Delors, etc. This approach directly derives from the Kerneuropa concept (Core Europe), meaning that the future of the EU should be established on the scheme of core (avant-garde) and orbit. The core would need to be founded by those EU Member States who are most prepared and interested in European integration, and the orbit would be constituted only by those EU Member States, who are not prepared, or do not want to involve themselves in a deeper European integration. The core Member States would develop single and coherent foreign policy, and thus, playing the role of an avant-garde of the European integration. The others would join them when willing or able to do so. The core will create a federation, and the orbit, an association. But they will continue to communicate and co-operate between each other, on certain issues. This concept has many terms and labels, or as authors, Funda Tekin and Prof. Dr Wolfgang Wesseles emphasized: the best-known terms have been ‘Core Europe’, ‘avant-garde, ‘centre of gravity’, and ‘directoire’, but these represent only an excerpt from a broad catalogue of such concepts” (Tekin and Wessels 2008, 1). Although “often used synonymously, these terms imply different forms of integration, with politically very different consequences for the EU and its Member States” (Ondarza 2013, 7). As is stated by Joschka Fischer, the “only possibility is a European avant-garde, a group of EU countries willing and able to advance. The willing and able participate, but the others shall not block progress anymore” (Fischer 2008). The avant-garde will be “decisive factor in driving forward the integration process, which will finally culminate in a European federation” (A Core, Avant-garde or Centre of Gravity). The former President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, goes more ahead with his thinking about avant-garde Europe, urging for establishment of a “Great Europe”. The “Great Europe”, according to Delors would need to: “provide its members with an area of active peace, a framework of sustainable development and, lastly, an area of shared values lived out in the diversity of our cultures and our traditions” (Pusca 2004, 131). In an institutional sense avant-garde Europe: "would take the form of a federation of nation-states with its two dimensions: federal, for clarifying powers and responsibilities; national, for ensuring the durability and cohesion of our societies and our nations. This would of course be an application of the healthy principle of subsidiarity. The link with the Great Union would be ensured with the existence of a joint Commission, responsible for coherence between the two entities and for compliance with EU regulations and acquis communautaire [and acquis politique]. The avant-garde, however, would have its own Council of Ministers and its own Parliament" (Pusca 2004). Namely, the “center” (or the “core”) Member States “would conclude a new European framework treaty, the nucleus of a constitution of the Federation (…) The Federation would develop its own institutions, establish a government which within the EU should speak with one voice on behalf of the members of the group on as many issues as possible, a strong parliament and a directly elected president” (Pusca 2004, 132). The avant-garde group of Member States is “‘not élitist’ but rather stands for and allows ‘reinforced co-operation’.” (Delors 2001, 3). The main idea is that the members of a smaller group would be both able and willing to go ahead immediately, while this would not be possible for all. Or as the former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher emphasized: “no Member State can be forced to go further than it is able or willing to go, but that those who do not want to go any further shall not prevent others from doing so” (Fischer 2000, 9). Considering the current state of the EU, it can be stressed that the future upgrades of the EU should be directed towards the creation of avant-garde Europe, as most possible and logical direction, taking into account the current (internal or external) differences between the EU Member States, and their attitude towards the EU future.


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Journal of Liberty and International Affairs. (2020). Cover Page and Table of Contents. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, 3(supp. 1). Retrieved from
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