Showdown at the Last Chance Saloon

As a political slogan, and a guideline in times of crisis, ‘whatever it takes’ undoubtedly has enormous appeal, and may in certain circumstances justify novel and untried forms of action. However, in a polity governed by the rule of law, there are limits to this approach which, if not respected, may cause greater problems than those which provoked the action in the first place.

Continue Reading →

Constitutional Constraints meet Political Pressure

The Finnish Constitutional Law Committee had already in April adopted a critical position towards the COVID 19 crisis measures in the EU. Last week the Committee continued its critical examination. It came to the conclusion that the Eurogroup decision to essentially remove all conditionality from the new loan facility of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is incompatible with the Finnish Constitution and expressed serious doubts about its compatibility with EU law. The Committee also repeated its concerns about the accumulation of financial risks deriving from EU membership.

Continue Reading →

The European Stability Mechanism is a False Solution to a Real European Problem

The conflict opposing the Northern (and Eastern) to the Southern Member States has reemerged with special animosity in the last weeks. European governments have developed deep disagreements over how to distribute the costs not only of fighting the coronavirus epidemics, but also of the socio-economic reconstruction that would be required once the public health emergence has been overcome, and which will require mobilising resources on a scale unknown since the Second World War.

Continue Reading →

Conditionality through the lens of the CJEU: a “blurry” view

From the very beginning of the Eurozone crisis, conditionality progressively entered into the vocabulary and the normative sphere of the EU economic governance. At the time of the first assistance package to Greece, conditionality was just an emergency tool set in the bilateral Loan Agreements, signed by Greece and other Members States. However, after the establishment of emergency funds like the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and especially after the creation of a permanent institution, a sort of “European mirror image of the IMF” – the ESM – conditionality has become a sort of leitmotiv of the European response to the economic crisis or, even, a necessary requirement according to the ECJ.

Continue Reading →

The Euro Summit deal: defeat or victory? A response to Robert Howse

Avoiding Grexit is, of course, the important achievement of the Agreement. But this counts as a success no more than surviving self-inflicted wounds: Concrete discussions on Grexit revived only in the last months and especially after the recent referendum. They are actually the product of the negotiation strategy itself. If we are looking for success then, we are left with debt relief and the new conditionality.

Continue Reading →