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Cover European Union Politics

25. The Euro Crisis and European Integration  

Dermot Hodson and Uwe Puetter

This chapter discusses the European Union’s (EU) response to the euro crisis that emerged in late 2009, two years after the global financial crisis struck. It identifies the challenges this crisis has posed to the existing institutional set-up of economic and monetary union (EMU) and shows that it had a lasting impact on dicussions over the EU’s future well beyond its most dramatic moments. A timeline of the euro crisis is provided and the main changes to the institutional framework of European economic governance at the time of writing are reviewed. The chapter considers whether the crisis was caused by a deficit of centralized decision-making and whether it has served, in turn, as a catalyst for deeper economic and political integration in the euro area and the Union more generally. The consequences of the crisis for the EU’s legitimacy are also explored from competing theoretical perspectives.


Cover Global Political Economy

5. Finance  

Lena Rethel

This chapter focuses on the Global Political Economy (GPE) of finance. It begins by exploring the key pillars of the GPE of finance, starting with money, currencies, and the international monetary system, before examining the dynamics of credit and debt. While money is ubiquitous, its usages are characterized by great variety and so are the practices—economic, political, and cultural—to which money gives rise. The chapter then looks at both public and private mechanisms which were established to govern global finance. Recurring financial crises are a key feature of the Global Political Economy. These crises can be triggered in different segments of the global financial system, including currency and debt markets, and can result from shocks outside the financial economy such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter also considers different ideas that may shape the international organization of credit, such as Islamic finance.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

4. Liberalization, Convertibility, and the Common Market  

Wendy Asbeek Brusse

This chapter examines how the European Payments Union resolved the problem of currency convertibility and unlocked the potential of trade liberalization, thereby paving the way for the European Economic Community (EEC), which in turn spurred further intra-European trade. It first provides an overview of trade and payments before and immediately after World War II and goes on to discuss postwar approaches to convertibility and liberalization. It then considers the degree, speed, and commitment with which countries opened up their domestic markets to each other's exports under the Trade Liberalization Programme. It concludes with an assessment of Britain's efforts to join a wider free trade area with the members of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation.


Cover Politics in the European Union

20. Economic and Monetary Union  

This chapter examines the various attempts to create the economic and monetary union (EMU), which first became an official objective of the European Community (EC) in 1969 but was achieved only thirty years later. The chapter first provides a historical background on efforts to create the EMU, including long-standing debates between France and West Germany on its design, before discussing the launch of the single currency, the euro, and its subsequent progress up to and including the eurozone crisis in the late 2000s. On the eurozone crisis, it considers both the short-term efforts at crisis management and the long-term reforms that were implemented in an attempt to prevent further crises. Finally, it considers some of the explanations for and critiques of EMU, including critiques of the responses to the eurozone crisis that have been offered by various academic commentators.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

10. From the Single Market to the Single Currency  

Dorothee Heisenberg

This chapter examines how France's dissatisfaction with de facto German dominance of the European Monetary System (EMS) set the European Community (EC) on the road to the economic and monetary union (EMU) in the late 1980s. It first considers the conduct and outcome of the Maastricht negotiations on EMU before discussing the rocky road to the launch of the single currency in 1999 and the experience of EMU since then. In particular, it analyses the difficulty of enforcing the Stability and Growth Pact for fiscal discipline among participating member states. It also looks at the Delors Committee and the role of Bundesbank president Karl-Otto Pöhl. Finally, the chapter explores attempts to coordinate fiscal policy management as well as the onset and impact of the eurozone crisis.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

7. Economic and Monetary Union  

An Enduring Experiment?

Dermot Hodson

This chapter examines the role of the economic and monetary union (EMU) in the European Union’s macroeconomic policy-making. As of 2015, nineteen members of the euro area have exchanged national currencies for the euro and delegated responsibility for monetary policy and financial supervision to the European Central Bank (ECB). EMU is a high-stakes experiment in new modes of EU policy-making insofar as the governance of the euro area relies on alternatives to the traditional Community method, including policy coordination, intensive transgovernmentalism, and delegation to de novo bodies. The chapter first provides an overview of the origins of the EMU before discussing the launch of the single currency, the sovereign debt crisis, and economic responses to Covid-19. It also considers variations on the Community method, taking into account the ECB and the European Stability Mechanism.