Wilful Non-Compliance and the Threat of Disintegration in the EU’s Legal Order

Nicole Scicluna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on the problem of wilful non-compliance with EU law and the threat it poses of (partial) disorderly disintegration within the EU’s legal order. Taking the example of migration and asylum policy following on from the 2015 migration crisis, I posit differentiated integration (DI), which occurs through processes that are formally mediated and collective, and non-compliance, which is unmediated and unilateral, as alternative strategies for member states which are unwilling to accept further integrative steps. While DI does carry costs, including the risk of legal fragmentation, I argue that it is a valuable tool for pre-empting wilful non-compliance – a phenomenon which both exposes and compounds the normative limits of EU law and is, consequently, more corrosive of the EU’s legal order. Thus, the article suggests that the EU ought to be more open to DI, especially when legislating in policy areas that are highly politicised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-671
Number of pages18
JournalSwiss Political Science Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • Disintegration
  • EU law
  • Migration and asylum policy
  • Non-compliance


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