This paper argues that the Lisbon Treaty and the global financial crisis may bring new opportunities to make prominent changes to the regional integration model that EU has evolved into. The paper discusses how the Lisbon Treaty revives the variable geometry hypotheses for regional integration. It finds the new post-Lisbon institutional arrangements supply member states with strategies for integrating candidate and neighbourhood countries into economic, security and regional development frameworks of the EU. The new members in particular may benefit from these new 'flexibilities' and may strengthen their own positions vis-a-vis their neighbors through taking an active role in avant garde groups such as the Visegrad group and Danube strategy; the Black Sea strategy and the Eastern partnership.
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