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Forgotten Democratic Legitimacy: “Governing by the Rules” and “Ruling by the Numbers”

Schmidt, Vivien A. (2015) Forgotten Democratic Legitimacy: “Governing by the Rules” and “Ruling by the Numbers”. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

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    Introduction: During the euro’s sovereign debt crisis, European leaders have become obsessed with rules, numbers, and pacts. This has reinforced an approach that began with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, which set out numerical targets for inflation, deficits, and debt for member-states adopting the Single Currency, was formalized by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) of 1999, but accelerated during the Eurozone crisis beginning in 2010. In quick succession EU leaders signed up for the so-called ‘Six-Pack,’ the ‘Two-Pack,’ and the ‘Fiscal Compact,’ each more stringent on the nature of the rules, more restrictive with regard to the numbers, and more punitive for member-states that failed to meet the requirements. In the absence of any deeper political integration that could provide greater democratic representation and control over an everexpanding supranational governance, the EU has ended up with ‘governing by the rules’ and ‘ruling by the numbers’ in the Eurozone. What has become clear as a result of the crisis of the Euro is that the EU is not just missing an economic union and a fiscal union; it is also missing a political union. During the crisis, the EU abandoned any pretense to respecting the long-standing ‘democratic settlement’ in which Commission, Council, and European Parliament all contributed in their different ways to decision-making via the ‘Community Method.’ Instead, Eurozone governance combined excessive intergovernmentalism—as EU member-state leaders generated the stability-based rules in the European Council while treating the Commission largely as a secretariat—with increased supranationalism. While the ECB pressed the member-states to engage in austerity and structural reform in a quid pro quo for its own more vigorous monetary interventions, the Commission gained enhanced budgetary oversight powers to apply the restrictive numerical targets. In all of this, moreover, the European Parliament was largely sidelined.

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    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2015 (14th), March 4-7, 2015
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 15:05
    Number of Pages: 25
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 15:05

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