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Accountability in pan-European borrowing: mind the gap

journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-09, 15:16 authored by Dermot HodsonDermot Hodson, David Howarth, Iacopo MugnaiIacopo Mugnai, Lukas Spielberger

The European Union (EU) is now borrowing on the scale of a large state to address challenges ranging from COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine. However, there has been limited comparative research on how pan-European borrowers can and should be held to account. This article offers a normative justification for why such borrowing should be accountable before showing how accountability practices diverge from a set of accountability expectations derived from three baseline theories: liberal intergovernmentalism, sociological institutionalism and historical institutionalism. Through elite interviews and online archival analysis, we show that the vertical accountability of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the European Stability Mechanism to national parliaments in six EU member states varies. Our findings also show that horizonal accountability has been constrained by the European Parliament's limited involvement in borrowing decisions until recently and that patchy interest from national auditors has undermined diagonal accountability. As EU borrowing increases in importance, these accountability gaps urgently need to be filled.

Funding

Bilateral ESRC/FNR: Banking on Europe

Economic and Social Research Council

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History

School

  • Loughborough University London

Published in

West European Politics

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Acceptance date

2024-02-09

ISSN

0140-2382

eISSN

1743-9655

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Dermot Hodson. Deposit date: 9 February 2024

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