National Parliaments and EU Fiscal Integration

Published date01 March 2016
Date01 March 2016
National Parliaments and EU Fiscal
Davor Jančić*
Abstract: This article analyses the impact of the euro crisis on national parliaments
and examines their response to the deepening of EU scal integration and the
correspondent limitation of their budgetary autonomy. It argues that the sovereign
debt crisis has provoked the emergence of new channels of parliamentary involvement
in EU economic governance. National parliaments have acquired various rights of
approval in the European Semester, strengthened the accountability of national
governments, reinforced their scrutiny over budgeting, improved their access to
information, and created domestic and supranational avenues for deliberation and
political contestation of European integration. In these respects, they have undergone
further Europeanisation. While these reforms do not outweigh the centralisation of
EU powers, they represent an embryonic step in the parliamentary adaptation to
the nascent EU scal regime. Yet they are unlikely substantially to inuence EMU
policy-making processes, because of the democratic disconnect inherent in the EUs
multilevel constitution.
I Introduction
The euro crisis, culminating in the inability of certain Member States to service their
sovereign debt,
has led to emergency EU decisions to prevent further fallout in
Senior Researcher in EU Law, T.M.C. Asser Institute The Hague, Faculty of Law, University of
Amsterdam. Previously British Academy Newton Fellow, Department of Law, London School of
Economics and Political Science. Research for this article has been partially funded by the British Academy
through its postdoctoral Newton International Fellowship scheme. An early draft of this article was
presented at the International Conference National Parliaments in the European Integration Process: Finally
Learning to Play the European Gamein the Aftermath of the Lisbon Treaty Reforms and the EU Economic
Crisis?, held at the European Parliament Ofce in Dublin, Ireland, from 67 December 2013. A revised ver-
sion of it was presented at the 1
Annual Conference of PADEMIA (European Commission Erasmus Net-
work on Parliamentary Democracy in Europe) held in Brussels from 1213 June 2014. The author wishes
to thank Prof. Damian Chalmers, Dr Floris de Witte, Dr Andrew Lang, the Editor-in-Chief, two anony-
mous reviewers and the conference participants for invaluable and constructive feedback on previous ver-
sions of this article. The author is also grateful to Prof. Carlos Closa Montero, Prof. Nicola Lupo, Dr
Cristina Fasone and Dr Violeta Ruiz Almendral for a very insightful exchange of views on these topics dur-
ing the Summer School on Parliamentary Democracy in Europe, which took place at the LUISS University
School of Government in Rome in July 2014. The author is also thankful to François Sicard and Aude
Bornens for providing rst-hand information on the French Parliament.
See: A. Hinarejos, Fiscal Federalism in the European Union: Evolution and Future Choices for the EMU,
(2013) 50 Common Market Law Review, 16211642; C. Hofmann, A Legal Analysis of the Euro Zone
Crisis, (2013) 18 Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, 519564.
European Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, March 2016, pp. 225249.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA
the Eurozone.
The reform of EU economic and nancial governance was carried
out by non-EU and EU instruments.
The key former instrument is the Fiscal
whereas the latter were adopted in the form of a Six Pack
of ve
regulations and a directive and a Two Pack
of regulations. These instruments
contain only sporadic references to national parliaments (NPs), while instituting a
European Semester procedure of economic policy coordination and requiring
domestic implementation of a balanced budget rule by means of binding and
permanent legal provisions.
These reforms of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) have resulted, on
the one hand, in increased powers of the Unions executive branch, primarily the
European Council, the Commission and the Council,
and, on the other, in the ex-
acerbation of the problem of their democratic accountability.
The hybrid and ex-
ecutive-dominated approach to crisis resolution carries adverse implications for
parliamentary control over scal policy making.
For the rst time, one may speak
of budgetary and economic co-responsibility of Member States,
which means
that this responsibility is no longer fully autonomous but shared to some extent
with the Union. Pernice claims that there is no such thing as budgetary autonomy
See: K. Tuori and K. Tuori, The Eurozone Crisis:A Constitutional Analysis (Cambridge University Press,
2014); M. Buti and N. Carnot, The EMU Debt Crisis: Early Lessons and Reforms, (2012) 50 Journal of
Common Market Studies, 899911; A.H. Hallett and S.E.H. Jensen, Fiscal Governance in the Euro Area:
Institutions vs. Rules, (2012) 19 Journal of European Public Policy, 646664. See also: Special Issues of the
Journal of European Integration on Redening European Economic Governance(2013, Vol. 35, No. 3)
and on Coping with Crisis: Europes Challenges and Strategies(2014, Vol. 36, No. 3).
J. Ziller, TheReform of the Political and Economic Architecture of the Eurozones Governance: A Legal Perspec-
tive, in F. Allen et al. (eds.), Governance for the Eurozone:Integration or Disintegration? (Financial Institutions
Center at Wharton Press, 2012), 115138, at 115.
Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, available at www.
Regulations Nos. 1173/2011, 1174/2011, 1175/2011, 1176/2011, 1177/2011 and Directive 2011/85/EU, OJ L 306 /1.
Regulations Nos. 472/2013 and 473/2013, OJ L 140/1.
D. Jančić,Parliamentary Involvement in the Economic and Monetary Union after the Euro Crisis,in
N. Lupo and C. Fasone (eds.), Interparliamentary Cooperation in the Composite European Constitution
(Hart Publishing, 2016), 183204.
U. Puetter, Europes Deliberative Intergovernmentalism: The Role of the Council and European Council in
EU Economic Governance, (2012) 19 Journal of European Public Policy, 161178, at 161; D. Schwarzer,
The Euro Area Crises, Shifting Power Relations and Institutional Change in the European Union, (2012)
3Global Policy, 2842, at 39; D. Dinan, Governance and Institutions: Implementingthe Lisbon Treaty in
the Shadow of the Euro Crisis, (2011) 49 Journal of Common Market Studies, 103121, at 119; P. de
Schoutheete, The European Council, in J. Peterson and M. Shackleton (eds.), The Institutions of the
European Union (Oxford University Press, 2012), 4367, at 56.
D.G. Mayes, Governance and the Euro Crisis,inE.Chitiet al. (eds.), The European Rescue of the
European Union?The Existential Crisis of the European Political Project (2012) 3 ARENA Report,
257294, at 260. See on the underlying democratic decit in: C. Joerges, What Is Left of the
European Economic Constitution? A Melancholic Eulogy, (2005) 30 European Law Review,
461489, at 476.
M.P. Maduro et al.,The Euro Crisis and the Democratic Governance of the Euro: Legal and Political
Issues of a Fiscal Crisis,inThe Democratic Governance of the Euro (2012) 8 RSCAS Policy Paper,
312, at 3; R. Bieber, ObserverPolicemanPilot? On Lacunae of Legitimacy and the Contradictions of
Financial Crisis Management in the European Union, (2011) 16 EUI Law Working Paper,5.
A. de G. Merino, Legal Developments in the Economic and Monetary Union During the Debt
Crisis: The Mechanisms of Financial Assistance, (2012) 49 Common Market Law Review,
16131646, at 1615.
National Parliaments and EU Fiscal IntegrationMarch 2016
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.226

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