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We're one, but we're not the same: Enhanced Cooperation and the Tension between Unity and Asymmetry in the EU

The aim of this article is to analyse one of the main features of asymmetry in the EU legal order: enhanced cooperation. After the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, two enhanced cooperation schemes (on divorce and patent) have already seen the light of the day. The paper first focuses on the evolution of the rules on "closer cooperation"/"enhanced cooperation" from the Treaty of Amsterdam onwards, then it analyses the first two cases. Enhanced cooperation is a unique test to understand how the EU manages to balance unity and asymmetry, thus an analysis of the rules and the relevant practice is very useful to this extent. The last section of the paper compares asymmetric integration at the EU and the WTO level, in order to understand how different legal orders deal with sub-unions and what degree of asymmetry can a system tolerate
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