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See detailChallenges in completing EMU: asymmetric competition vs fiscal harmonisation. A case study of the Benelux countries
Danescu, Elena UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2019)

This paper aims to investigate the concept, context and socio-economic consequences of fiscal competition in the integrated economic space of EMU in completion, to pinpoint the positive and negative ... [more ▼]

This paper aims to investigate the concept, context and socio-economic consequences of fiscal competition in the integrated economic space of EMU in completion, to pinpoint the positive and negative factors at work via a case study of the Benelux countries – both founder members of the EU and pioneers of EMU – and to examine the impact on European and international regulations in the field. In particular, it will endeavour to provide a comprehensive interpretation of fiscal policy in the Benelux countries via a comparative approach and from a historical perspective. It will look at the development of respective domestic fiscal policies, driven by national interests and by membership of a Community that is subject to requirements in terms of harmonisation and taxation, but also by constant contact (and frequent clashes) with the multilateral international environment. [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduction - Recent Changes in EU Economic Governance: Methodological and Institutional Dynamics
Chang, Michele; Sacher, Martin UL; Tkalec, Igor UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2019), 15(2), 134-142

A decade after the outbreak of the Euro crisis, enough time has passed to assess its impact on EU economic governance. This Special Issue aims to identify the institutional dynamics that have occurred ... [more ▼]

A decade after the outbreak of the Euro crisis, enough time has passed to assess its impact on EU economic governance. This Special Issue aims to identify the institutional dynamics that have occurred since the crisis by using methodological approaches that reflect the rising complexity of decisionmaking under Economic and Monetary Union. The ambition of the contributing authors is to provide new theoretical insights and empirical findings and thereby to contribute to our understanding of the long-term ramifications of the Euro crisis for EU economic governance. This Special Issue addresses two broad research areas: power relations, institutional dynamics and decision-making practices, and the processes, efficacy and effectiveness of fiscal and economic policy coordination in the reformed setting of economic governance. [less ▲]

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See detailMacroeconomic Conditionalities: Using the Controversial Link between EU Cohesion Policy and Economic Governance
Sacher, Martin UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2019), 15(2), 179-193

The reform of EU economic governance since the outbreak of the euro area crisis has not stopped at the borders of Economic and Monetary Union. With the introduction of macroeconomic conditionalities in ... [more ▼]

The reform of EU economic governance since the outbreak of the euro area crisis has not stopped at the borders of Economic and Monetary Union. With the introduction of macroeconomic conditionalities in all European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), EU cohesion policy is now closely linked to the Stability and Growth Pact. The European Commission is expected to propose the suspension of ESIF funding in case of non-compliance with the Excessive Deficit Procedure. This article focuses on Portugal and Spain, which were nearly sanctioned under the macroeconomic conditionalities in 2016. It will address the question of why the application of this sanctioning procedure was softened compared to the hardness of its legal provisions. Drawing on the ‘usage of Europe’ approach and on the concepts of hard and soft law, this article argues that the usage actors make of a procedure has an influence on its legal character at the enforcement stage. This article finds that the hard law character of the procedure was softened by the European Commission’s flexible application of the provisions and by the European Parliament’s strategic usage of the rules. [less ▲]

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See detailPushing the Boundaries. New Research on the Activism of EU Supranational Institutions
Howarth, David UL; Roos, Mechthild

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2017), 13(2), 1007-1024

This contribution introduces the concept of ‘activism’ to the study of EU supranational institutions and their role in EU policy making and European integration. While long present in studies of the Court ... [more ▼]

This contribution introduces the concept of ‘activism’ to the study of EU supranational institutions and their role in EU policy making and European integration. While long present in studies of the Court of Justice of the EU, ‘activism’ has rarely been examined systematically in the context of analyses of other supranational institutions. This contribution offers a definition of ‘supranational institutional activism’, examines its analytical usefulness in relation to other concepts such as ‘entrepreneurship’ and through the lens of a number of political science and EU integration theories and analytical approaches. The specific analytical insights derived from the disciplines of political science, history and legal scholarship of the twelve articles of this special edition on ‘supranational institutional activism’ are also considered. While the powers and roles of EU supranational institutions have been examined in numerous studies, this article presents a concept that can contribute to a more systematic and comprehensive understanding of the contribution of these entities to EU policy making and European integration. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Politics of Delegation in European Banking Union: Building the ECB's supervisory oversight capacity
Gren, Jakub UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2017)

The nature and scope of the European Central Banks’s (‘ECB’) oversight mandate over the supervision of smaller and medium banks by national supervisors has been one of the most debated aspects of the ... [more ▼]

The nature and scope of the European Central Banks’s (‘ECB’) oversight mandate over the supervision of smaller and medium banks by national supervisors has been one of the most debated aspects of the newly created European Banking Union. In particular, the issue whether the ECB should influence already established national supervisory practises and standards was not immediately straightforward. This paper applies the Principal-Agent (‘PA’) approach to explore the extent of the ECB supranational agency governing the supervisory oversight policies in the Single Supervisory Mechanism (‘SSM’). Notably, one of the important features of the SSM institutional design is the contractual incompleteness of supranational delegation. The ECB has been granted discretion to fill-in the agency contract concluded with the Member States. A brief analysis of the practical operationalization of the ECB oversight role suggests that the ECB could exploit this contract condition to pursue own policy goals (agency hold-up problem) and situate itself in “bureaucratic drift” vis-à-vis the Member-State principals. However, under slightly relaxed Principal-Agent assumptions which assume proactive role of the agent in reducing information asymmetries vis-à-vis its principal, it is also possible that the ECB managed to influence the Member States’ stance, and, in doing so, exercised effective bureaucratic entrepreneurship. [less ▲]

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See detailFar Beyond the Treaties’ Clauses: The European Parliaments’ Gain in Power, 1952-1979
Herzog, Mechthild UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2017), 13(2), 1055-1075

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See detailThe European Parliament in Times of Crisis: Transnationalism under Pressure?
Högenauer, Anna-Lena UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2017), 13(2), 1091-1108

In 2015, the intensification of the migration crisis has exposed the European Union to a highly politicized policy problem that was subject to radically different national approaches. In the past, the ... [more ▼]

In 2015, the intensification of the migration crisis has exposed the European Union to a highly politicized policy problem that was subject to radically different national approaches. In the past, the literature has tended to present the European Parliament as a highly supranational institution, where formal procedures and informal practices have encouraged the emergence of transnational party groups over time. However, while these groups are now seen as enjoying a high level of cohesion, the literature also argues that national loyalties are likely to prevail in the case of conflict between the European party group and the national party. The migration crisis can be expected to create numerous conflicts that would undermine party cohesion. Yet, the analysis of plenary debates in 2015 shows that European party groups still benefit from a high level of cohesion and that most MEPs avoid couching their arguments in national terms. The European Parliament is thus still a fundamentally transnational actor. [less ▲]

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See detailPushing the Boundaries. New Research on the Activism of EU Supranational Institutions
Herzog, Mechthild UL; Howarth, David UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2017), 13(2), 1007-1024

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See detailInnovating Teaching and Learning of European Studies: Mapping Existing Provisions and Pathways
Timus, Natalia; Cebotari, Victor UL; Hosein, Anesa

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2016), 12(2), 653-668

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See detailHigher Education in Crisis: Post-war Lessons from Finland and West Germany
Gardin, Matias UL

in Journal of Contemporary European Research (2015), 11(2), 196-211

In today’s overpowering neoliberal dogma, the written media often renders strong economic developments and generous welfare state policies as incompatible. At a European level, the recent economic and ... [more ▼]

In today’s overpowering neoliberal dogma, the written media often renders strong economic developments and generous welfare state policies as incompatible. At a European level, the recent economic and financial crisis has worryingly reinforced this trend, exemplified by strategic cuts in higher education funding in the majority of EU member states. This article takes the present European crisis as its point of departure, and by drawing on the example of post-war higher education expansion in Finland and West Germany, it argues that crisis can provide beneficial insights into the causes, capacities, forms, and mechanisms of change in current capitalist economies under increased austerity. This analysis thereby condemns the alleged incompatibility of economic growth and egalitarianism, and concludes by suggesting – as was also implied by the Finnish and West German press of the 1960s – that investment in human capital via education needs to be maintained and increased to facilitate the EU member states out of the economic crisis. [less ▲]

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