The EU’s recurrent crises in normative and economic terms have not promoted the “ever closer union”, but rather led to a diversification of EU integration through exceptions for individual member states, dual-speed integration in specific policy fields and overall increasing euro-scepticism. Paired with sub-national trends of divergence instead of convergence has led to a profoundly complex variegated geometry of the European Union. This research cluster is dedicated to investigating such centrifugal movements within the EU, starting with the UK referendum on the EU and its consequences for European perspectives and continuing with debates on constitutional futures.


Two research seminars will be open to the public and the contributions to those seminars will be made accessible on this website.

  • The seminar “A New Relationship? Brexit, Ireland and Northern Ireland” on 6 May 2016 offered an opportunity to reflect on the potential consequences of the UK leaving the EU for Northern Ireland and North – South relationships in Ireland, focusing on the general constitutional position, human rights, mobility and policing. It will be offered in cooperation with the Royal Irish Academy at their premises in Dublin. The seminar took place on 6 May in Dublin (Constitutions and these Islands: Beyond Brexit).

Researchers participating in this activity include:

                      Professor John Morison

  • The half-day seminar “Northern Ireland at the Edge – what next after “BREXIT“ ?  on 15 September 2016 serves to provide a larger forum to discuss “Challenges, Limits and Opportunities of the Changing Forms of European Integration”. It offers debates on the future the island of Ireland while it experiences a practical example of the centrifugal forces applied to the EU. The half-day seminar also continued the cooperation with the Royal Irish Academy, as well as with “The UK in a Changing Europe”.

This research cluster has also hosted the first ever event on the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in Northern Ireland on 29 June 2016. The idea of differentiated integration of the EU and the UK itself after “Brexit” has also inspired other  events which took on a “Brexit” element, as well as additional events, such as the 2017 conference on “Brexit – 15 Months on – Socio-Legal Perspectives for the EU and Europe“.

Researchers participating in this activity include:

Professor David Phinnemore      

Dr Lee McGowan

Professor John Morison

Professor Dagmar Schiek



Cluster 3 – Variegated Geometry, Differentiated Integration and Transnational Governance