Experimental differentiation as an innovative form of cooperation in the European Union: Evidence from the Nordic Battlegroup

Benjamin Leruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on the use of experimental differentiation, a form of small-scale pilot program that aims at testing whether further institutional integration can be bolstered in an area where cooperation has not been tested or proven. Experimental differentiation consists of three features. Firstly, participation should not be constrained by membership in the European Union. Secondly, experimental differentiation should consist of short-term projects. Thirdly, the functional scope of such experiments should be clearly limited to reduce the expected political costs of participation. Empirically, this article focuses on the EU Battlegroups and analyzes how the above-mentioned features drove political actors to support participation. While EU Battlegroups have been criticized for their lack of effective action and the political and financial costs they entail, this article offers a more positive feature, arguing that Battlegroups should be seen as experiments that lead reluctant political actors to consider their cooperation under the EU framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-149
Number of pages25
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Differentiation
  • Experimentalist governance
  • Battlegroups
  • CSDP

Cite this