When Member States Look Daggers at Each Other’s. Analyzing Ownership and Conditionality As New Modes of Governance in the EU Policy Making

Friday, July 14, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Ramona Coman , Institute for European Studies, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Fanny Sbaraglia , Université libre de Bruxelles
How has the European economic governance architecture been transformed as a result of the Eurozone crisis and what are its new features? This paper examines key governance principles that have shaped the EU economic governance architecture since 2010 onwards. Focused on the origins and the transformation of the European Semester, this paper discusses key governance principles that have shaped this policy tool designed in 2010 for the coordination of macroeconomic policies at the EU level. We argue that in the first three crucial years of the Eurozone crisis (2010-2013) certain ideas had been assumed as the right and the only ways forward. These ideas crystalized in a set of governance principles that modeled the European Semester. As soon as the crisis started to ‘cool off’, contestation at the EU level increased and reshaped the meaning of said governance principles (i.e. ownership and flexibility). This change in the meaning altered again the functioning of the European Semester.

Ownership and conditionality are not new principles in global governance. A wide range of international actors including the IMF and the WB have used them to legitimize their policies. In EU governance ownership became central in the context of the Eurozone crisis, while conditionality entered the policy debate back in the 1990s. Both conditionality and ownership arise more from a layering process of former practices and a new political usage, than innovative policy principles.