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Emilie Ghio To Present The Case For "Differentiated Integration" Among EU Member States at The Society of Legal Scholars Conference

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  • 31 Aug 2017

The EU is currently at a crossroads and deeper integration is necessary to pave the way for harmonised insolvency and rescue law according to School of Law Ph. D student Emilie Ghio. 

In the aftermath of the economic crisis and Brexit, the issues surrounding the EU’s “integration paradox” once more came to the fore.

Although member states simultaneously recognise the need for deeper integration, they are also unwilling to delegate political sovereignty. This has allowed for a split between EU member states that have further integrationist desires and those that do not explains UCC School of Law Ph. D student Emilie Ghio.

No more is this the case than in Ghio’s field of expertise - European insolvency and rescue law. Traditionally, corporate insolvency law was seen as a fundamental part of the European economic system and addressing business failure on a pan-European level remains vital to the concerns of stakeholders and to wealth preservation.

However, fundamental differences which exist between domestic legal frameworks have so far prevented full harmonisation of European insolvency and rescue law, forcing the European institutions to incrementally harmonise procedural aspects of insolvency law only.

According to Ghio however, the EU may cease striving for complete harmonisation and instead develop a process of differentiated integration, paving the way for harmonised insolvency and rescue law among member states who wish to progress it.

On 1 March 2017, the European Commission presented its White Paper on the Future of Europe, which established five concrete scenarios for the EU by 2025. The third scenario, “those who want more do more” is interesting since it explicitly calls for differentiation across the EU.

Since the process of unitary integration has traditionally rested on the ideal of an “ever closer union”, this marks a new direction for the EU.

Challenged by the increased heterogeneity of the Union, divergence in political ambitions, disparities in cultural identities and economic realities and different geostrategic interests, the unitary principle is impossible to sustain at the present stage of European integration.

Essentially, differentiated integration could mean the abandonment of the principle of unitary integration.

Consequently, when presenting her paper at The Society of Legal Scholars Conference, Emilie Ghio will demonstrate that the process of European integration is now at a crossroads and argue that the EU should turn to two different models, one regarding legal regulation, the other concerning integration.

Ghio will contend that the EU should adopt further “soft law” measures as a means of improving cross border legal regulation, at least in the field of insolvency law.

The Ph. D student, who aims to submit her thesis early in 2018, will also argue that the EU’s model of differentiated integration is presently the most innovative response to the current challenges facing the union, particularly around insolvency law, where not all member states are equally eager to participate in further integration.

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