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The failure of intergovernmentalism in tackling the EU crisis and the European Parliament’s initiative

Abstract

The EU is facing a multi-faceted, existential, crisis; it is an economic and social crisis in some countries, a political and cultural crisis all over the EU and a geopolitical crisis at the international level. National governments have taken the lead in the crisis management of the EU: the European Council has become the dominant institution and the intergovernmental method has come back into fashion. But intergovernmentalism has failed: since 2008 the crisis keeps getting worse. Intergovernmentalism is leading towards the EU’s disintegration. Among many voices to save the EU, it is interesting that the supranational institutions, and particularly the Parliament, are taking on themselves the responsibility to take the initiative and indicate a possible way forward for the Union.

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Implication of Federalism in ‘Federal’ Related Political Institutions: A Conceptual Analysis

Abstract

While most students of federalism feel satisfied with defining it as involving self-rule and shared rule, there is an inherent laxity in that definition because several institutional forms have dual components of self-rule and shared rule. It is therefore necessary to find out if federalism is an equivalent of all self-rule – shared rule systems of government or not. This requires an effort to locate the implication of federalism in federal related political institutions, by exploring the conceptual distinctions between related terms such as federalism, federation, federal government, federal political systems, confederation, and decentralized union. Hence, this article aims at distinguishing these concepts, as well as identifying the interlinkage and relationship that exists between them. The goal is to reduce the level of uncertainty associated with the meaning of federalism in the contemporary political culture, and also, to make it less contested and distinct from other federal kindred terms.

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The impossible constitutional reconciliation of the BVerfG and the ECJ in the OMT case. A legal analysis of the first preliminary referral of the BVerfG

Abstract

In Gauweiler v. ECB, the German Constitutional Court referred for the first time a case to the European Court of Justice. The BVerfG openly doubted the legality of the OMT program of the European Central Bank, one of the most effective European instruments in counteracting the effects of the Euro-crisis. Despite the apparent willingness of the BVerfG to accept the referring decision of the ECJ, it is clear that the German judges have a different constitutional interpretation of the monetary mandate of the ECB. This article will focus on the different conceptions of European Monetary Union and in particular of the ECB proposed by the two Supreme Courts in their case-law, and will explain why the legality of the ECB’s activity will be re-examined in the near future.

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It Is About Control: Progressivism, FATCA and Global Law

Abstract

Progressive ideology has slowly eroded American principles for over a century, declaring social control its ultimate goal. Social control is not possible while American principles, such as individual freedoms and limited government, thrive. Global control is now the favored progressive tactic to overcome such principles, and no sector of our lives is off limits.

This paper intends to examine the motives behind, and consequences of, U.S. legislation known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”). Thanks to FATCA, financial institutions around the world have been forced into a sphere of global control. Passed without debate as stealth legislation, FATCA moved us towards global control. FATCA is merely a pit-stop to global control over all financial institutions, transactions, reporting, and a host of other areas. Even worse, the pit-stop is a short one. International organizations are currently working on a global version of FATCA.

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National parliaments fighting back? Institutional engineering as a successful means to become active actors in EU affairs

Abstract

The European integration process has long been characterised by the predominance of national executive powers. National parliaments were recognised as European actors after several decades only, in the Maastricht Treaty first and to an even larger extent in the Lisbon Treaty. Parliaments were hence long dependent on national constitutional, legal and administrative arrangements to be able to participate in EU affairs. This paper analyses how national parliaments (and their members) have reacted to the challenge the European integration process has represented for them while it also takes due account of the role other institutions, such as constitutional courts, have played in this field. It is argued that while these arrangements may have been successful in allowing national parliaments to play a greater role in this field, they should remain temporary for they are characterised by uncertainty and instability and make it generally difficult for citizens to follow up on national parliaments’ actions and to be fully informed.

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Conventional Direction to Unconventional Measures: Using Quantitative Easing to shape Eurozone Fiscal Capacity

Abstract

Eight years after the outbreak of the crisis, the Eurozone (EZ) fiscal policy remains fragmented at the national level. This paper fills the structural gap between the monetary and fiscal dimensions of EZ economic policy by suggesting a ‘conventional’ direction to the unconventional Quantitative Easing (QE) policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). We propose an evolution for QE to tackle the shortcomings of the current ‘decentralized’ fiscal policy in the EZ. In a nutshell, we suggest a change in the composition of QE asset purchases, focusing on buying European Investment Bank (EIB) bonds that, in turn, would be used to finance real investments through the Juncker Plan programme. The rationale of our proposal is legitimised by an overview of the gloomy macroeconomic conditions of the EZ, and the situation in ongoing policies. The mechanism is described in detail, with a discussion of both its strengths and possible limitations.

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EU governance in the run-up to 2025: A Joint Budgetary Procedure

Abstract

The Euro Area (Eurozone, or EZ) is navigating uncharted waters; it has started, in slow motion, to slide towards a fiscal federation, while still lacking both the fiscal capacity and the democratic qualification to achieve this goal. Strengthening the EMU’s democratic profile is a fundamental requirement for the sustainability of the EMU as much as its completion with a fiscal and economic arm. Yet, according to the Five Presidents Report released in 2015, no substantial progress is expected to be achieved before 2025. Against this background, this paper is structured in two parts. The first part analyses the most recent trends in the Governance of the Eurozone. The second part discusses whether a transition from governance to government of the Monetary Union is both feasible and effective, advancing a new proposal -a Joint Budgetary Procedure-tailored to strengthen the European Semester with stronger incentive mechanisms, greater reach and stronger governance.

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Mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 – A round-up of key issues at stake

Abstract

By the end of 2016 the European Commission is expected to present its mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. The results of the review may open the way for a revision of the MFF Regulation. The scope of the review, as laid down in the legislation, as well as the difficult implementation of the MFF in its first years, give grounds to expect changes in the MFF Regulation. However, experience of past reviews and the requirement of a unanimous vote in the Council on the revision of the MFF raise concerns about the final result of the exercise.

This paper explains how the idea of the mid-term review of the MFF has evolved, why it has become so important, and what issues are at stake at the outset of the debate. It shows that in order to ensure a smoother implementation of the MFF in the future years some radical changes are necessary, including an increase of the ceilings and flexibility. Besides, the problems with the implementation of the current MFF give arguments for a thorough reform with a view of the post-2020 MFF.

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Monetary and Fiscal Arrangements for the Eurozone: Some Unconventional Proposals

Abstract

Contributions in this special issue argue make a number of points with regard to the urgent need to change the economic governance of the Eurozone, pointing at some tools to increase its spending capacity. The process of potential fragmentation ignited by the recent vote on Brexit make such changes even more urgent, signalling the need to provide concrete responses to citizens, in order to show that the euro area, and the EU at large, are able to satisfy some of their crucial needs. The papers which make up this special issue were presented in Florence, at a meeting held in the framework of a Jean Monnet + Project called MoreEU. The first section deals with the reform of the budget; the second with a further use of quantitative easing and the role of the ECB.

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Reforming the financing of the EU budget: Outlook

Abstract

This paper provides a general overview of the EU’s own resources system, and of the debate on its possible reform within the current legal framework. Two alternative reforms are discussed, along with their possible advantages and drawbacks: 1) a simplified system based only on a resource related to gross national income; and 2) the introduction of new genuine own resources and the possible elimination of some current own resources. The second option, which has long been called for by the European Parliament, is explored in further detail, with an overview of the potential candidates for new own resources analysed by the European Commission prior to its 2011 reform proposal. The current outlook for a possible reform focuses on the ongoing work of the high-level group on own resources chaired by Professor Mario Monti, presenting the main obstacles to change and possible ways forward. This paper updates the author’s in-depth analysis How the EU budget is financed: The “own resources” system and the debate on its reform (European Parliamentary Research Service, Brussels).

Open access