Europe in Times of Economic Crisis: Bringing Europe's Citizens Closer to One Another?
Erasmus University Rotterdam - Erasmus School of Law; European Center for Financial Integration Studies (ECFIS)
February 29, 2012
Despite its huge consequences for European integration, European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has not, until recently, gained the attention of as many legal academics as other supposedly more mainstream areas of European Union law. Even after the establishment of the European System of Central Banks and the introduction of a single currency, the implications of EMU are primarily discussed in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal framework and its economic implications. While the shortcomings of the present regulatory system, which have contributed to the Eurozone debt crisis since 2010, certainly justify such analyses, they deflect from the question whether and to what extent EMU actually contributes to European integration, as defined by the Treaty on European Union in terms of a ‘process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe. A Union in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen’ and that promotes economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among its Member States and its citizens. It is at least not self-evident that EMU actually contributes to the identification of the citizens of the Member States with the European project. In fact, one may wonder whether the Eurozone debt crisis actually provides evidence to the contrary.
The present contribution explores whether and to what extent in times of (economic) crisis the policies exercised at the supranational level have the potential to contribute to or indeed undermine the appreciation of the European Union by its citizens and, in the long term, the emergence of a transnational citizenship beyond the creation and upholding of rights. In addressing these questions, two fairly distinct topics in European integration studies are connected, namely the conduct of macroeconomic and monetary policy in the EU and the discourse on the existing or perceived lack of identification with and ownership by the citizens in relation to European policies and supranational integration as such. In this chapter, therefore, the debate on the existence or emergence of a European demos is first recalled, thereby reflecting on the notion of the ‘European citizen’ and exploring the role that common goods and solidarity may have in this context. Thereafter, it is explored whether and to what extent EMU pursues ‘common goods’ that bring citizens closer to Europe and each other, thereby creating solidarity among Europeans. Finally, the contribution seeks an answer to the question whether the current Eurozone debt crisis is uniting Member States and their citizens in solidarity in pursuing these common goods in defense of the aims of European integration. The legal analysis is enriched with relevant references to political science and political economy scholarship, adding a multidisciplinary dimension to the chapter.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: European Union, citizenship, economic and monetary union, Euro area, eurozone, debt crisis, solidarity, common goods, bail out, eurobonds, economic governance
JEL Classification: K10, K30, G18, G28, F42working papers series
Date posted: February 29, 2012 ; Last revised: July 4, 2012
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