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In a reaction to growing constraints by the EU, more and more member states are negotiating opt-outs. Rebecca Adler-Nissen discusses how opt-outs work in practice and argues that opt-outs actually reinforce the integration process.

Detail Summary
Date 13 March 2014
Time 14:00 -15:00

European integration continues to deepen despite major crises and attempts to take back sovereignty. A growing number of member states are reacting to a more constraining EU by negotiating opt-outs. Drawing on new material for a forthcoming book (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Rebecca Adler-Nissen discusses how opt-outs work in practice. She examines the most controversial cases of differentiated integration: the British and Danish opt-outs from Economic and Monetary Union and European policies on borders, asylum, migration, internal security and justice. Drawing on over one hundred interviews with national representatives and EU officials, she will show how national representatives manage the stigma of opting out, allowing them to influence even political sensitive areas covered by their opt-outs. Developing a practice approach to European integration, the lecture focuses on how everyday negotiations transform national interests into European ideals. It is usually assumed that states opt out to preserve sovereignty, but this lecture argues that national opt-outs may actually reinforce the integration process.

The speaker

Rebecca Adler-Nissen is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on diplomacy, sovereignty and European integration (especially the euro, common migration, asylum and border policies, the Danish and British opt-outs, differentiated integration, and the EU's common foreign policy and the External Action Service).
Rebecca Adler-Nissen has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University/Université de Montréal and the European University Institute in Florence. She is former Head of Section in the Department of European Policy, at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she among other things helped prepare the Danish EU Presidency and the European Council meetings. Previously, Rebecca has been project manager at the Confederation of Danish Industry and research analyst at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) where she co-authored a report to the Danish Parliament on the implications of the Danish EU opt-outs.


Attendance is free of charge. For organizational reasons, please sign up for the meeting by sending an email to