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New publication by Christa Tobler on alternative models of EU integration

Following the conference of the 20th Austrian European Law Day in September 2021 at the University of Liechtenstein in Vaduz, the academic papers of the conference have now been published in book form. The book contributions include a chapter by Christa Tobler: Christa Tobler, 'Finally Brexit - Alternative Models of EU Integration. Von Modellen und Bausteinen', in: Judith Sild (ed.), Potentiale und Grenzen europäischer Integration, Vienna: Jan Sramek Verlag 2022, 135-158.

In the context of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) from the European Union, the question of possible alternatives for the future legal relationship with the EU has been raised again and again. On a larger scale, however, this question has been raised not only since Brexit, but for much longer for other states that either cannot decide on EU membership or are not eligible for it. In the search for alternative relationship options, there is often talk of 'models'. But are there any replicable models for regulating legal relations between a non-member state and the EU? This paper argues that existing models have developed in their specific contexts and, as a result, have specificities that cannot simply be transferred to other cases, and that for this reason it makes more sense to focus on the building blocks that make up the models. They are more repeatable than the models as a whole.

The chapter begins with a discussion of the discourse on models and then turns to the issue of building blocks. It deals with the reusability and types of building blocks as well as with the interaction of substantive and institutional building blocks and - on the substantive level - with the question of the indivisibility of the four freedoms of the EU internal market. Finally, using two examples on the UK and Switzerland, it is argued that the European Commission is sometimes unnecessarily rigid in developing concrete relationship models.

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