026 No Money? Economic Governance and the International Credibility of the Union in Times of Crisis

No money – no teeth – no brain? Crises and opportunities for the EU as an international actor
Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
1.15 (PC Hoofthuis)
This panel addresses the weight of the financial crisis on the credibility of the EU as an international actor. In view of the repeated bailouts and institutional overhauls in attempts to cope with the crisis, not only Europe but also the outside world is prone to lose faith in the European integration project. The central questions for this panel are: Are the institutional reforms and legal mechanisms sufficient to revert this loss of credibility, how can they be improved, and what dangers do they harbour?

First, Angelos Dimopoulos (Tilburg University), critically enquires the use of international law as an effective tool for strengthening economic governance within the euro-area. In tackling the eurocrisis, EU leaders have relied mostly on international law and fostered the creation of new intergovernmental institutions rather than acting through the framework of EU law (i.e. the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG)).The paper argues that the ESM and TSCG create a governance structure that is not hindered by the substantive and procedural “barriers” of the Union legal order, resulting in the inapplicability of key principles of Union law. This, he argues, exacerbates the governance problems that the ESM and TSCG are aimed to resolve, and puts into danger the very foundations of the European integration project.

Turning from the (mis)use of international law internally to the intricacies posed the EU legal order within the international system, Andrés Delgado Casteleiro (Durham University) addresses the question of the international responsibility of the European Union. Essentially, he enquires how other international actors can get their right when the EU is in the wrong. He posits that the management of international responsibility of the Union for wrongful acts moves between pragmatism and proceduralization. The EU either lays down complex procedures in order to manage the allocation of responsibility in order to (allegedly) preserve the internal division of competences or takes a pragmatic approach which disregards any internal division of competences. This paper critically analyses these two trends in EU’s practice by drawing on the experience in both economic and non-economic policy areas. This includes the WTO, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, the EU’s accession to the ECHR or its incipient Foreign Direct Investment Policy. Overall, the paper argues that instead of complex and slow procedures or ad hoc pragmatic solutions the EU should push for a rules-based approach which underpins the proceduralization of responsibility.

Lastly, moving from assuming responsibility to taking international action, Laura Puccio (EUI) examines the difficulties and opportunities regarding the involvement of the EU in the G20 and the IMF. In these international forums, the Union has to juggle the double role as actor in trouble and as the key for solving the problems that have befallen Europe. This combines questions on different levels of governance, including the external representation of the Union and the procedures in these crucial international institutions. Despite the Lisbon reform, the EU is far from the proverbial "phone number" that can be called to address the most pressing issues of our time.

Joris Larik
Nikos Skoutaris