Drunk on Conditionality: The Move to Coercive Conditionality in the EU Periphery

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Jonathan Hopkin , London School of Economics and Political Science
What is the effect of using conditionality tools developed in one context in a very different context? How well do such tools work and what intended and unintended consequences do they bring with them? This paper makes three arguments: 1) building on earlier antecedents, the European Commission made extensive use of conditionality during the pre-accession process that led to EU membership for ten states in 2004-2006; 2) this conditionality tried to influence state preferences and was generally fairly successful, which stands in contrast to many prior findings on the effectiveness of conditionality; 3) the eurocrisis has seen the Commission—andother EU actors—ramp up the use of conditionality, including in ways that are both more coercive of European states and more directly targeted at core state functions, such as fiscal, labor market, and social policy; 4) this more recent use of conditionality has been less successful, in large part because of the far weaker sanctions for non-compliance available when dealing with existing member states. To pursue these claims, the paper first sketches a brief history of the rise of conditional tools and their expansion to and application in Central and Eastern Europe in the early 2000s. The bulk of the paper then shifts to an empirical account of the ways in which conditionality has been used in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece since 2010. It then draws on a comparison between these two cases to outline the possibilities and limits of conditionality in the context of the European Union and EMU.

  • Drunk on conditionality - Glasgow paper.pdf (149.8 kB)