Enlarged Scope and Competences of the ECB Economic Constitutional Analysis
47 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2013
Date Written: June 6, 2013
The paper focuses on the constitutional analysis of the European Central Bank (ECB). During the financial and fiscal crisis the role and actions of the ECB have far exceeded what was traditionally considered normal conduct of monetary policy and also what was envisaged in the Maastricht Treaty. However, it is a complicated task to judge whether the actions are constitutionally suspect or not .The constitutional position of the ECB was stipulated in the Maastricht Treaty, but there is a wide list of other sources that are needed to complement relevant Treaty articles, including broader European economic constitution, the model of Deutsche Bundesbank and the consensus of monetary theory. Reading the Treaty articles in the light of these complementary sources helps to form a coherent list of of constitutional principles covering the ECB. It is found that during the first decade of its operation, the ECB followed the constitutional principles very closely. However, during the financial and fiscal crisis, the ECB started to deviate from the principles to the extent that it raises concerns on the constitutional acceptability. The list of actions are explained and constitutionally analysed, including expanding the collateral, new money market measures, involvement in rescue measures and purchasing of government bonds (SMP). The constitutional principles that have become causes of concern are the overriding objective of price stability, prohibition of public financing as well as the institutional independence of the ECB.
Keywords: constitutional principles, constitutionalism, Bundesbank, European Central Bank, ECB, European economic constitution, Eurosystem, Greek crisis, independence, monetary policy, price stability, rescue programmes, Securities Market Programme, sovereign debt crisis
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