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Article

The ECB’s Independence and the Principle of Separation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords ECB, Banking Supervision, Banking Supervision Centralization, Prudential Supervision, European Union, EU Law, Banking Union, Central Banking Independence, SSMR, SSMR
Authors Pamela Nika
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) involvement in banking supervision is compatible with its independent status as provided by the European Union’s (EU’s) primary law, specifically with reference to the principle of separation between the ECB’s monetary policy and supervisory powers. It is found that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation provides the ECB with a set of prerequisites in pursuit of its supervisory objectives under a high level of independence. However, the article argues that the current EU regulatory framework poses risks to the overall independence of the ECB. In particular, the principle of separation, as one of the mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the ECB’s independence, is not fully achieved. In addition, the boundaries and application of macro-prudential operation of the ECB in both the SSM and European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) remain blurry and uncertain. The article concludes by suggesting that the only way to safeguard the independence of the ECB is by carefully revising the ECB’s competencies, which may require treaty amendment.


Pamela Nika
Dr Pamela Nika is a lecturer in Corporate and Finance Law at Brunel University London.

Ali Gohar
Ali Gohar is the founder of Just Peace Initiatives, UK and Pakistan (http://www.justpeaceintl.org).

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Authors Johanna Schnabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.

János Martonyi
Professor emeritus, University of Szeged; former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2002 and 2010-2014).
Article

How Not to Build a Monetary Union?

The Structural Weaknesses of the EMU in the Light of the 2008 Crisis and the Institutional Reforms for Their Correction

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2018
Authors György Marinkás
Author's information

György Marinkás
Assistant professor, University of Miskolc.
Article

Access_open Sustainable Enjoyment of Economic and Social Rights in Times of Crisis

Obstacles to Overcome and Bridges to Cross

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2018
Keywords social and economic rights, austerity measures, Euro crisis, defaulting countries
Authors Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2008, the European Union was hit by the most severe financial downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. One of the major consequences of this phenomenon was the deterioration in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic and social rights. While it is indisputable that the crisis itself was directly correlated to the erosion of such rights, the conditions attached to the loan agreements between defaulting countries and the three lending institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Commission, have negatively affected the rights under consideration. Loans came with strict austerity measures, such as public expenditure cuts in the realm of, inter alia, public services, benefits and social security. This article considers the deterioration in the enjoyment of economic and social rights by Union inhabitants and particularly the anti-crisis strategy adopted by the European Union, which, as will be demonstrated, directly contributed to this deterioration. The stance of the three institutions was facilitated by the less than proactive, but improving, positioning of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case law, which will be assessed. It must be noted that it is not the three institutions acting alone in this process; the Member States are the ones who agree to the loans and their conditions and implement austerity measures on the ground. However, as will be reflected, the practical role and actual input of the countries themselves in this procedure is limited. The central theoretical tenet of the article is that the European Union is re-shifting its direction to the almost absolute adoption of an economic constitution, with little regard to its social counterpart. Within the aforementioned framework, this article seeks to assess the status of economic and social rights in a crisis-hit Union, provide a theoretical explanation for this occurrence and put forth possibilities for positive change, placing the protection and promotion of economic and social rights at the heart of any responses to crisis as a method to ensure their sustainable protection effectively.


Dr. Natalie Alkiviadou
Dr Natalie Alkiviadou is a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.
Article

Why Better Regulation Demands Better Scrutiny of Results

The European Parliament’s Use of Performance Audits by the European Court of Auditors in ex post Impact Assessment

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords EU budget, European Parliamentary Research Service, policy evaluation, scrutiny, oversight
Authors Paul Stephenson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ex post impact assessment (traditionally considered part of policy evaluation) received less attention in the preceding ‘Better Regulation’ package (2011) than ex ante impact assessment. Yet, the insights generated through ex post impact assessment provide crucial input for streamlining legislation. In recognition of its contribution, the current agenda (2015) extends the reach to policy evaluation, and from financial instruments to regulatory instruments. In light of existing experience with impact assessments in Commission Directorates-General (DGs), the European Union (EU) institutions have been increasingly aware of the need to develop staff expertise in ex post (policy) evaluation, which has in the past been largely outsourced to external parties. Making sense of collected input and incorporating it within impact assessment is time consuming. Indeed, taking up the findings for practical use is a challenge for political decision makers but essential for the purposes of accountability, scrutiny and institutional learning. The challenge is more so, given the wealth of information being generated by multiple parties and the increasing technical and financial complexity of certain policy areas. The role of the Commission as an advocate of ‘Better Regulation’ has been studied extensively. However, we know relatively little about the role of the European Parliament (EP) in ex post evaluation. This article contributes to the literature on ‘Better Regulation in the EU’ by shedding light on the EP activities in the realm of scrutiny and evaluation. In particular, it looks at the Parliament’s use of special reports produced by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) through its performance audit work and how it takes on board the findings and recommendations in its scrutiny of budgetary spending. Moreover, it examines the emerging role of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in monitoring the outputs of the ECA and other bodies engaged in audit and evaluation, and thereby, the way in which the EPRS is helping increase the Parliament’s capacity for scrutiny and oversight.


Paul Stephenson
Maastricht University.
Article

Asymmetry as an Instrument of Differentiated Integration

The Case of the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2016
Keywords asymmetry, comparative and EU law, differentiated integration, crisis, economic governance
Authors Giuseppe Martinico
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers a reflection on asymmetry as an instrument of differentiated integration in the current phase of the EU integration process. As for the structure, this work is divided into four parts: First, I shall clarify what I mean by asymmetry as an instrument of integration relying on comparative law. This comparative exercise is particularly useful because it allows us to acknowledge the strong integrative function performed by asymmetry in contexts different from but comparable to the EU system. Second, I shall look at EU law and recall the main features of asymmetry in this particular legal system. In the third part of the article I shall look at the implications of the financial crisis, which has increased the resort to asymmetric instruments. In the last part I shall deal with some recent proposals concerning the differentiated representation of the Eurozone. The idea of differentiated integration and that of asymmetry have been extended and adapted to many different processes by scholars over the years, but to avoid misunderstandings I would like to make clear that in this work I shall analyse those forms of asymmetries that are allowed and carried out only when respect for an untouchable core of integration is guaranteed. This is crucial to conceive asymmetry as an instrument of integration.


Giuseppe Martinico
Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law, Scuola Sant’Anna, Pisa; Research Fellow, Centre for Studies on Federalism, Turin; Honorary Professor at the European law research centre, University of Henan, Kaifeng, China. Article Completed on 23 February 2016. This article is part of the project "Gobernanza económica europea y transformación constitucional”, (MINECO, DER2014-57116P).

Anastasia Karatzia
Assistant Professor in EU law, Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Menelaos Markakis
DPhil Candidate in Law, University of Oxford, Researcher, Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

Péter Fáykiss
Péter Fáykiss is the Head of the Macro-prudential policy department at the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), the central bank of Hungary. He graduated at Corvinus University of Budapest in 2009. After graduation, he joined MNB, where he worked as analyst at the Financial Stability Department. Between 2013 and 2014 he worked as Deputy Head of Financial Services Department at the Ministry for National Economy, and was responsible inter alia for the implementation of CRD IV in Hungary.

Dániel Papp
Dr. Daniel Papp is member of the Macro-prudential policy department at the Magyar Nemzeti Bank as a legal advisor. He graduated at ELTE law school in 2012. After having supervisory experience at the former Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority, he was enrolled at LUND University for a postgraduate law course, called European Business Law (LL.M.). He made extensive research on the forming European supervisory framework, since his master thesis was about the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the Assessment of Hungary’s Possible Approach.

Anikó Szombati
Anikó Szombati leads the Macroprudential Directorate of Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the central bank of Hungary. This Directorate is responsible for the fulfillment of tasks originating from the Central Bank Act recognizing MNB as the macro-prudential authority of Hungary. The macro-prudential authority’s major task is to identify and mitigate system-wide risks in the financial intermediary system. The Directorate also contributes to the formulation of central bank opinion in major structural issues related to the financial sector developed either at EU or at the country level.
Article

Exploring Barriers to Constructing Locally Based Peacebuilding Theory

The Case of Northern Ireland

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords peacebuilding, phronesis, civil society, practice–theory, Northern Ireland
Authors Emily Stanton PhD and Grainne Kelly
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to explore why, after significant financial investment and a history of nearly 50 years of civil society activity, there is a paucity of explicitly codified and consolidated indigenous theory that has emerged from peacebuilding practice in Northern Ireland. Methodologically, this apparent contradiction is explored, utilizing both empirical research (interviews with key peacebuilders) and the wide practitioner experience of the authors. It is argued that two complex dynamics have contributed to the subordination of local practice-based knowledge, namely, the professionalization of peace and the dominance of research over practice within academia. These two dynamics have played a mutually exacerbatory and significant role in creating barriers to constructing local peacebuilding theory. Phronesis, an Aristotelian term for practical knowledge, is explored to discover what insights it may contribute to both research, theory and practice in the field of peacebuilding, followed by examples of institutions demonstrating its value for practice–theory reflexivity. The article concludes with a call for peace research that validates and values practical knowledge. By doing so, the authors argue, new avenues for collaborative partnership between practitioners and academics can open up, which may play a constructive role in bridging practice–theory divides and, most importantly, contribute to building more effective and sustainable peacebuilding processes in Northern Ireland and in other conflict contexts.


Emily Stanton PhD
Emily Stanton is PhD candidate in the School of Politics, Faculty of Social Science, Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Email: Stanton-E@email.ulster.ac.uk.

Grainne Kelly
Grainne Kelly is Lecturer of Peace and Conflict Studies at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Email: g.kelly@ulster.ac.uk.
Article

A Crisis Beyond Law, or a Crisis of Law?

Reflections on the European Economic Crisis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords Eurozone, economic crisis, Greece, debt, Grexit
Authors Ioannis Glinavos
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper attempts to locate the place of law in debates on the economic crisis. It suggests that law is the meeting point of politics and economics, not simply the background to market operations. It is suggested therefore that the law should be seen as the conduit of the popular will through political decision making onto economic systems and processes. The paper argues that the crisis can be seen as being the consequence of the dis-embedding of the political from the economic, and it is this distance that causes legal frameworks to operate in unsatisfactory ways. With this theoretical basis, the paper examines the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. The European debt crisis in general and the plight of Greece in particular show why plasticity in policy making is necessary and also reveal why current orthodox solutions to economic calamities fail. The inflexibility of the neoclassical understanding of the state-market relationship does not allow for avenues out of crisis that are both theoretically coherent and politically welcome. Such realisations form the basis of the examination of the rules framing the Eurozone. This paper, after conducting an investigation of exit points from the Eurozone, condemns the current institutional framework of the EU, and especially the EMU as inflexible and inadequate to deal with the stress being placed on Europe by the crisis.


Ioannis Glinavos
Dr Ioannis Glinavos is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster, i.glinavos@westminster.ac.uk.
Article

Welke eurocrisis? Een vergelijkende analyse van de nieuwsverslaggeving in de Lage Landen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2014
Keywords content analysis, euro crisis, newspapers, EU news, framing
Authors Willem Joris and Leen d’Haenens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a comparative analysis of the news coverage on the euro crisis in Flanders (Dutch-speaking Belgium) and the Netherlands. The aim of the research was to identify how newspapers in the Low Countries have portrayed the roots of the crisis, the main victims, and those held responsible to solve the crisis, and ways to do so. This study also analyzed the differences across geographical contexts and types of newspapers. Furthermore, it examined how the coverage changed as the crisis continued. Research findings include that Flemish newspapers more often reported about the causes of the crisis, whereas the Dutch newspapers published more articles discussing the responses to it. Furthermore, financial newspapers provided more news stories searching for a solution, while popular newspapers usually published short, factual descriptions.


Willem Joris
Willem Joris is wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het Instituut voor Mediastudies, KU Leuven. Hij doet een doctoraatsonderzoek over de ‘eurocrisis in het nieuws’.

Leen d’Haenens
Leen d’Haenens is gewoon hoogleraar aan het Instituut voor Mediastudies, KU Leuven. Haar onderzoeks- en onderwijsinteresses omvatten westers mediabeleid, jongeren en (sociale) media, media en sociale bewegingen, mediadiversiteit, en journalism studies.
Article

Access_open Corporate Governance and the Great Recession

An Alternative Explanation for Germany's Success in the Post-2008 World

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2014
Keywords Great Recession, Germany, corporate governance, institutional complementarity, EMU
Authors Pavlos E. Masouros
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ability of a nation to resist a crisis depends on the institutional or spatio-temporal fixes it possesses, which can buffer the effects of the crisis, switch the crisis to other nations or defer its effects to the future. Corporate governance configurations in a given country can function as institutional or spatio-temporal fixes provided they are positioned within an appropriate institutional environment that can give rise to beneficial complementarities.
    Germany seems to resist most effectively compared with other nations (be it nations of the insider or the outsider model of corporate governance) the effects of the post-2008 crisis. This article posits that this is due to an institutional complementarity between Germany's corporate governance system, its system of industrial relations and the monetary institutions of the European Monetary Union. The advent of shareholder value has blended in a beneficial way with an established system of cooperative collective bargaining, with traditional stakeholderist institutions, but also with the asymmetrical design of the EMU that benefits trade surplus countries, and this institutional complementarity has endowed Germany with a comparative advantage over other nations (particularly EU Member States) to pursue its export-led growth strategy and emerge as a champion economy amidst the crisis.


Pavlos E. Masouros
Assistant Professor of Corporate Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands; Attorney-at-Law, Athens, Greece.
Article

Access_open The Economics and Empirics of Tax Competition: A Survey and Lessons for the EU

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax coordination, European Union, fiscal federalism
Authors Thushyanthan Baskaran Ph.D. and Mariana Lopes da Fonseca
AbstractAuthor's information

    We survey the theoretical and empirical literature on local and international tax competition in Economics. On the basis of this survey, we discuss whether EU countries should harmonise tax policies to prevent a race to the bottom. Much of the evidence suggests that tax competition does not lead to significant reductions in tax revenues. Therefore, we conclude that tax coordination is in all likelihood unnecessary to prevent inefficiently low levels of taxation in the EU. But since the evidence against the adverse effects of tax competition is not unambiguous, we also discuss whether intergovernmental transfers might be a less invasive means than outright tax harmonisation to prevent a race to the bottom.


Thushyanthan Baskaran Ph.D.
University of Goettingen, Germany.

Mariana Lopes da Fonseca
University of Goettingen, Germany.
Article

Access_open Company Tax Integration in the European Union during Economic Crisis – Why and How?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords company tax harmonisation, EU law, Internal Market, taxation policies
Authors Anna Sting LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    Company tax integration in the EU is yet to be realised. This article first outlines the main benefits of company tax integration for the Economic and Monetary Union, and also discusses the main legal obstacles the EU Treaties pose for harmonisation of company tax. The main problem identified is the unanimity requirement in the legal basis of Article 115 TFEU. As this requirement is currently not feasible in the political climate of the debt crisis, this article assesses possible reasons for and ways to further fiscal integration. It considers Treaty change, enhanced cooperation, soft law approaches and also indirect harmonisation through the new system of economic governance. Eventually, a possible non-EU option is considered. However, this article recommends making use of the current EU law framework, such as soft law approaches and the system of the new economic governance to achieve a more subtle and less intrusive tax harmonisation, or instead a Treaty change that would legitimately enhance and further economic integration in the field of taxation.


Anna Sting LL.M
PhD Candidate at the Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank the organisers of the seminar on Company Tax Integration in the European Union, as well as the participants of the seminar of 11 June 2013 for their comments, as well as Prof. Fabian Amtenbrink for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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