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Political Science in Europe

Towards the Fiscal Union: The Formation of National Preferences on Eurozone Policies and Lessons for Future Reforms

European Union
Workshop Number
Workshop Director
Sonja Puntscher Riekmann
Universität Salzburg
Workshop Co-Director
Fabio Wasserfallen
University of Zurich

The Eurozone crisis corroborated the warnings that weak economic policy coordination and loose fiscal oversight are insufficient to stabilize the monetary union. Several reforms were implemented during the last decade, yet many more changes were suggested by scholars, practitioners as well as official EU actors in order to complete the architecture of the economic and monetary union (EMU). Yet, what is missing are not policy ideas and economic analysis, but the political consensus among member states’ governments for a specific integration path. This workshop focuses on the domestic politics of fiscal integration in the European Union. It aims to analyze the process of how national positions are formed and subsequent EU compromises legitimized and accepted in member states. Our goal is to connect existing accounts of the EU-level reform negotiations to their roots in domestic politics, by systematic comparison of the political economy of the national preference formation across the EU during the post-crisis period. We are interested in research papers addressing topics related to questions such as the following. Who were the relevant actors shaping national positions on the recent EMU reforms and what was the influence of supranational actors? What shaped their positions apart from the economic interests on the given issue? What legitimized the final EU-level compromises, especially when they were not aligned with the initial positions of national actors? What lessons can be derived from the above analysis for the assessment of the political feasibility of alternative proposals for the fiscal union?

Relation to existing research: There is a cacophony of EMU reform proposals ranging from official blueprints (Juncker et al. 2015, Commission 2012, 2017), through synthetic proposals from economists (e.g. Enderlein et al. 2012, Stiglitz 2016) to myriad of partial solutions and fixes. There is also rapidly expanding literature on the negotiations that have delivered EU compromises on individual reforms such as the European Stability Mechanism (e.g. Schimmelfennig, 2014), Fiscal Compact (e.g. Tsebelis and Hahm, 2014; Bauer and Becker, 2014) or banking union (De Rynck, 2015, Howarth and Quaglia, 2013). However, much less is known about the formation of the support for and opposition to these reforms on the national level. The existing accounts are limited to case studies of individual countries such as Greece or Germany or few-country comparisons. Since many of the recent reforms were adopted under time pressure and avoided the extensive consultations underpinning previous EMU milestones (intergovernmental conferences; see Wasserfallen 2014), we lack the knowledge of how were national preferences formed, how deeply they are rooted in political economies of member states and what recent reform experience implies for the plans of further fiscal integration. The analysis of formation of national preferences would benefit from a dedicated workshop that gathers a broad network of scholars and suggest new qualitative and quantitative research strategies. The aim is to produce a special-issue for the EU-focused academic journal out of the selected papers.

Bauer, M. W., & Becker, S. (2014). The Unexpected Winner of the Crisis: The European Commission's Strengthened Role in Economic Governance. Journal of European Integration, 36(3), 213-229.
Commission (2012). Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine EMU. European Commission.
Commission (2017). Communication from The Commission Further Steps Towards Completing
Europe's Economic and Monetary Union: A Roadmap.
De Rynck, S. (2015). Banking on a union: the politics of changing Eurozone banking supervision. Journal of European Public Policy, 23(1), 119–135.
Enderlein, H., Vitorino, A., Sapir, A., Rodrigues, M. J., Pisani-Ferry, J., Piris, J.-C., et al. (2012). Completing the Euro: A road map towards fiscal union in Europe. Report of the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Group.
Howarth, D., & Quaglia, L. (2013). Banking Union as Holy Grail: Rebuilding the Single Market in Financial Services, Stabilizing Europe's Banks and 'Completing' Economic and Monetary Union. Journal of Common Market Studies, 51(S1).
Juncker, J. C., Tusk, D., Dijsselbloem, J., & Draghi, M. (2015). Completing Europe's economic and monetary union. European Commission.
Schimmelfennig, F. (2014). European Integration in the Euro Crisis: The Limits of Post-functionalism. Journal of European Integration, 36(3).
Stiglitz, J. (2016). The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe. W. W. Norton & Company.
Tsebelis, G., & Hahm, H. (2014). Suspending vetoes: how the euro countries achieved unanimity in the fiscal compact. Journal of European Public Policy, 21(10), 1388-1411.
Wasserfallen, F. (2014). Political and Economic Integration in the EU: The Case of Failed Tax Harmonization. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 52(2), 420–435.

Paper List

Title Details
Completing Banking Union? Supranational Deposit Insurance after the Eurozone Crisis View Paper Details
Decision-Making during the Eurozone View Paper Details
European Unemployment Benefit Scheme: Between Political Conflicts and Windows of Opportunity View Paper Details
Eurozone Politics: Implications for Ongoing and Future Reforms View Paper Details
National Constitutional Laws as Manifold Steeplechase for Fiscal Integration View Paper Details
Preference Formation during the EMU Crisis View Paper Details
Societal Dynamics of Governmental Preference Formation in Post-Crisis European Economic Governance View Paper Details
Southern Europe and the Euro Crisis Negotiations View Paper Details
Support for and Opposition to the Fiscal Union: Does Knowledge Matter? View Paper Details
The New Hanseatic League and the Fading Shadow of German Hegemony View Paper Details
Towards Fiscalisation of the Eurozone? National Preferences on the Fiscal Union and Implications for Accountability View Paper Details
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