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How a secretive circle of finance ministers shape European economic governance
Author: Uwe Puetter

This book a study on the work of the Eurogroup—monthly informal meetings between euro area finance ministers, the Commission and the European Central Bank. It demonstrates how this small, secretive circle of senior decision-makers shapes European economic governance through a routinised informal policy dialogue. Although the role of the Eurogroup has been contested since before the group's creation, its actual operation has never been subject to systematic evaluation. This book opens the doors of the meeting room and shows how an understanding of the interplay of formal provisions and informal processes is pivotal to the analysis of euro area governance. The book advances the conceptual understanding of informal negotiations among senior European and national decision-makers, and provides an in-depth analysis of historical episodes of policy coordination. As other areas of European decision-making rely increasingly on informal, voluntary policy coordination amongst member states, the Eurogroup model can be seen as a template for other policy areas.

Abstract only
Uwe Puetter

2833Intro 14/2/06 9:44 AM Page 1 Introduction The informal Eurogroup, comprising the finance ministers of the euro area, plays a central role in the economic governance set-up of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This might seem surprising given that the group is deprived of any formal decision-making competences and keeps a low official profile. The group is the smallest coordination forum known in Brussels. Only the ministers themselves attend the meetings and they find no administrative infrastructure at their disposal. In fact, the Eurogroup pre

in The Eurogroup
John J. Hurt

4 The ordeal of the parlementaires To fund the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1714), Michel Chamillart, the controller general, increased current taxes, invented new taxes, borrowed heavily and manipulated the currency, the customary methods long called into use by hard-pressed finance ministers.1 Like Pontchartrain, but with greater frequency, he also extracted large sums from the parlements; and his successor, Nicolas Desmarets, continued to pursue them financially. Long before the war ended, the magistrates had reached the limits of their financial

in Louis XIV and the parlements
Uwe Puetter

the presidency conclusions of European Council meetings have the status of an official EU document, a link between the formal Community structures and the informal meetings of euro area finance ministers is created nonetheless. This procedural ambiguity is complemented by the lack of a detailed definition of the tasks of the Eurogroup. The Luxembourg presidency conclusions defined an enabling clause rather than a precise mandate for the Eurogroup. Apart from the very general characterisation of the content of discussions as ‘shared specific responsibilities’ the

in The Eurogroup
Uwe Puetter

, it was not entirely clear what the particular role of the Eurogroup, in comparison with the ECOFIN Council, would be during Stage 3. Not surprisingly, initial debates under the chairmanship of the Eurogroup’s first president, the Austrian finance minister Edlinger, were a mixture of more programmatic interventions and comments on specific developments. No unified vision existed among Eurogroup participants with regard to the role of budgetary policy coordination in Stage 3. A working paper of the Austrian presidency, which was circulated at the occasion of the

in The Eurogroup
Abstract only
Uwe Puetter

2833Chap4 14/2/06 9:47 AM Page 86 4 The agenda The necessity and the advantages [of informal discussions within the Eurogroup] are obvious. If one shares a single currency there are problems and issues which are of interest for this group of finance ministers only. The finances ministers who do not belong to this group might also have an interest but they are not directly concerned. And so we have a community bound together by shared interests – or a community bound together by fate – depending on the degree of dramatisation you wish to apply. (Anonymous

in The Eurogroup
Abstract only
Uwe Puetter

concerns that the creation of informal negotiation settings at the intergovernmental level contradicts basic democratic principles. Finally, the discussion points to the possible use of this governance mode in other policy areas than EMU. Deliberative intergovernmentalism: an alternative mode of governance The question of the contribution of informality as a working method for negotiations among euro area finance ministers is closely related to the more general question of the role of intergovernmental decision-making as the central source of political authority within

in The Eurogroup
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Catherine Moury, Stella Ladi, Daniel Cardoso, and Angie Gago

nearby electricity generation plant, causing widespread blackouts (Ladi, 2011 ). The Mari explosion intensified criticisms of the government's economic policy and ultimately led to the replacement of the Finance Minister, Charilaos Stavrakis (Xiouros, 2016 ). By this time, all coalition parties had withdrawn from the government, leaving AKEL on its own. Kikis Kazamias became the Christofias government's second Finance Minister in August 2011 and immediately started implementing austerity measures to tackle the worsening economic situation and in response to the

in Capitalising on constraint
Richard Lapper

’s prospects, even though Brazil’s stock market had drifted lower in the first few months of the year. The appointment of Antônio Palocci, the market-friendly finance minister of Lula’s first term, as Rousseff’s chief of staff seemed to be a reassuring move. A report from one of the investment banks had welcomed the cuts in spending, labelling the new Brazilian leader ‘Tropical Maggie’ in allusion to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, well known for her privatising governments of the 1980s. The comparison was a stretch. The biographies of the two leaders could

in Beef, Bible and Bullets
Abstract only
Agnès Maillot

in which both Unionists and Nationalists expressed their positioning on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland was not antagonistic, showing how far society has come since the GFA. Sinn Féin Finance Minister Conor Murphy explained his party’s position in the following manner: ‘There will be celebrations for some people; for other people it is a period of reflection to look at the impact that partition has had on this island for 100 years and all the negative consequences that have flowed from that’. This

in Rebels in government