The Choice for Europe since Maastricht

Member States' Preferences for Economic and Fiscal Integration

For six years now the European Union goes through the most severe crisis since its foundation. What started as a crisis of Greek state finance developed into a serious menace for the whole European Monetary Union. The good news: the Eurozone kept growing, taking up new members during the last years. The bad news: despite several decisions "without alternatives", rescue packages of more than 500 bn. Euro, new international agreements between the member states, a treaty revision and drastic cutbacks in national budgets (even destabilizing the social balance), a sustainable solution to the crisis seems still out of reach. 

The financial crisis of the Eurozone has already turned into a political crisis. The idea of solidarity and the trust in the Union's competence to find effective solutions are seriously battered. But what is lacking are not ideas and economic models, but a political consensus between the member states concerning the further path of integration.   

Therefore, this political science project analyses the politics of economic and fiscal integration, that is, the conflict structure among member states. To this end, we aim to study the preferences of member states’ governments’ for different models of a fiscal union. Our theoretical framework builds on the comparative political economy literature and liberal intergovernmentalism and argues that domestic economic, fiscal and political factors explain member states’ preferences. To empirically study whether, and if so, the extent to which governments’ preferences are shaped by economic, fiscal and political determinants, we propose to conduct 165 semi-structured interviews with decision makers in all member states. The interview data will be analysed with a mixed-method strategy – including quantitative factor analysis as well as qualitative case studies. We expect that the theoretical and empirical findings of the project will provide guidance for the successful implementation of a feasible reform of the governance architecture of the EU to the effective stabilisation of the economy. In addition to the political feasibility analysis, we aim to study the legal context of potential fiscal and economic integration scenarios.

This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme  

Call: H2020-EURO-SOCIETY-2014
Topic: EURO-1-2014
Type of Action: Research & Innovation
Grant Agreement No. 649532-EMU_SCEUS
Coordinator: SCEUS: Prof. Sonja Puntscher Riekmann/ Ass.Prof. Dr. Fabio Wasserfallen
EU-funded Project Budget: 2,150,795.00

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