EMU: Fostering Legitimacy through “Transparent” Economic Instruments?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Marylou Hamm , Université libre de Bruxelles - Sciences Po Strasbourg
The various crisis which started in 2007 challenged the legitimacy of the EU. During the “fast burning phase” of the crisis, intergovernmental decisions have predominated, justified by the need to speed-up decisions in a “urgent context”. In countries considered most fragile, “independent” experts such as from the troika played a major role in the fabrication and the implementation of structural reforms. According to most narratives stemming from the institutions, the crisis revealed major shortcomings of the integration. There would be an insufficient implementation of recommendations, due to political unwillingness or the lack of know-how. This rationale justifies the development of European tools in economic policies, characterized as more neutral and capable of providing relevant expertise for Member States.

The paradigm of transparency applied to the work of EU experts is used to make up for the lack of input legitimacy of these non-elected actors, by underlining the focus on the efficiency of policy processes to foster better governance. Understood as access to information, transparency can be achieved through instruments borrowed from New Public Management (impact assessment, project cycle management, audit reports) meant to provide neutral criteria capable of evaluating policy processes. Since 2010, there is indeed a growing sophistication of economic policy monitoring, notably through the Five Presidents report and the European Semester. This contribution proposes to open the black box of the economic governance and what is called “European expertise” through its concrete instruments.