This article is the English version of: Vivien A. Schmidt, « Gouvernance économique européenne : entre erreurs passées et promesses d’avenir », published in Politique étrangère, Vol. 87, Issue 4, 2021.
The responses to the Covid-19 crisis, in which the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) were suspended and the European Union (EU) took on significant EU level debt for the purposes of redistributive solidarity, constitute a great leap forward for the EU. They also represent a tacit acknowledgment that the policies put in place in response to the Eurozone crisis, focused on “governing by rules and ruling by numbers”, with punitive conditionality for countries in trouble, were not fit for purpose. The question for today is: Will the EU go back to the status quo ante of the Eurozone, focused on rules-based, numbers-targeting governance, with limited common EU instruments for investment in the future? Or will it instead move beyond the Eurozone and Covid-19 crisis effectively and democratically, toward more sustainable and equitable growth and prosperity for all Europeans?
Although there are no answers to these questions as yet, we know enough to say that going back to the status quo ante would be highly problematic. This article demonstrates this by first discussing the EU’s management of the Eurozone crisis and how this affected the economics, politics and governance of the EU, and then contrasts this with the management of the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on EU economics, politics, and governance. The article concludes by pointing to potential obstacles and stumbling blocks to building on the Covid-19 response, and then outlines the governance requisites for a more sustainable and equitable EU economy…
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