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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Marie Curie Workshop - Post-Financial Crisis Governance in Europe: Legitimacy, Democracy and Competition

Marie Curie Workshop, 'Post-Financial Crisis Governance in Europe: Legitimacy, Democracy and Competition',

Date: 19 March 2014

Time:1-4 pm

Place: The Lesley Hearnshaw Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, University of Liverpool

Participation to this event is free. This event will be chaired by Prof Michael Dougan, the Dean of the Law Department, who will also discuss the papers. Speakers and abstracts can be found below.

Aidan Regan (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Bonn), ‘Political Tensions in Euro-Varieties of Capitalism: Can the North and South of EMU Converge?’  

Abstract: The European response to the sovereign debt crisis has exposed a tension between the national and the supranational in a multi-level polity whilst opening up new political cleavages between the north and south of Europe. This dilemma has become particularly acute for program countries that are either directly or indirectly in receipt of non-market financial funding from the troika. In the absence of exchange rate adjustments, Ireland and southern European countries must pursue an internal devaluation that shifts the burden of adjustment on to fiscal and wage policy. National governments are required to comply with external EMU mandates and liberalize their welfare states, cut public spending and impose supply-side reforms in the labour market. The core argument of this paper is that joining together distinct varieties of capitalism into a shared currency is the real source of the Eurozone crisis. Drawing upon a new approach to comparative political economy the paper traces macroeconomic divergences within EMU to competing growth regimes: domestic-demand and export-led, which became systematically connected after the creation of the single currency. The European policy response assumes that structural reforms aimed at national competitiveness will enable all member-states to pursue an export-led recovery. This is exacerbating rather than resolving the imbalance of capitalisms at the heart of the euro crisis".

Angela Wigger (Roudbound University Nijmegen), ‘The Role of Capitalist Competition and its Regulation in the Economic and Financial Crisis. A Critical Political Economy Perspective on EU Competition Control’

Abstract: the global financial and economic crisis is only seldom linked to capitalist competition and its regulation; yet there is a connection. In her presentation, Angela Wigger will focus first, on the role of capitalist competition as a potential root cause of the current crisis. She will link – what will be outlined as overcompetition – to financialisation processes and the historically unprecedented record of mergers and acquisitions prior to the outbreak of the crisis, which have increasingly been undertaken also by short-term oriented financial market actors, including private equity houses, hedge funds and other institutional investors. Second, she will explain how the adoption and ensuing adaptations of the supranational merger control at the level of the European Union (EU) have facilitated not only economic concentration, but also the role of financial market players therein. Third, she will seek to explain there are no signs of a wider paradigm shift in the neoliberal type of competition regulation that has prevailed ever since the mid-1980s. Nikos Skoutaris (University Of East Anglia And London School Of Economics), ‘On Sovereign Debt Crisis And Sovereignty: A Constitutional Law Perspective On The Greek Crisis’   Abstract: The Financial Assistance Packages (or ‘Memoranda’ as are commonly referred to in Greece) have triggered a debate among lawyers, public intellectuals, politicians and judges on the threat that they pose to the Greek sovereignty. The present paper is situated within this debate. It argues, first, that while ratifying and implementing the Financial Assistance Packages has been nothing more than a voluntary act made by a sovereign state that failed to effectively meet its economic obligations by reference to the markets, still, such ratification and implementation of the ‘Memoranda’ impedes the very foundations of popular sovereignty as described in the Greek constitution. The reason being that the ratification and implementation procedure of the ‘Memoranda’ has showed flagrant disrespect of Articles 28 and 36 of the Greek Constitution and thus of popular sovereignty. Second, it focuses on how the growing practice of the Greek governments to issue acts of legislative content instead of laws in order to avoid parliamentary scrutiny further deconstructs rule of law by shedding light on the legal procedure that led to the closure of the public broadcaster. Finally, the paper assesses the impact of the austerity measures on social rights by analyzing relevant decisions of the Social Rights’ Committee of the Council of Europe.

Firat Cengiz (Liverpool University), EU’s Democratic Deficit and Competition Policy: What Role for Citizens?

Abstract: with the sovereign debt crisis, the EU’s notoriously grave democratic deficit has reached a new climax. Before the crisis, the proponents of the European regulatory state relied on output legitimacy arguments – i.e. superior economic policies would win over the politically alienated citizens. It appears more difficult now than ever to convince EU citizens with this argument, as they face the daunting implications of myopic economic policies and austerity measures in their everyday lives. This paper argues that the EU is obliged to fix its relationship with citizens to survive the crisis as a polity capable of accomplishing the objectives set for it in the founding Treaties. The paper further argues that the institutional solutions to the democratic deficit, such as the citizens’ initiative, have failed to serve this aim so far. Instead, citizens should be anchored firmly to the making of policies they benefit from, such as the EU competition policy. After analysing the recent reform of EU competition policy, the paper finds the contribution of citizens to the reform process unsatisfactory. Thus, the EU institutions’ approach to reform process appears self-defeating not only for EU competition policy alone but the EU as an economic integration in general. 

Nikos Skoutaris (University Of East Anglia And London School Of Economics), ‘On Sovereign Debt Crisis And Sovereignty: A Constitutional Law Perspective On The Greek Crisis’

Abstract: The Financial Assistance Packages (or ‘Memoranda’ as are commonly referred to in Greece) have triggered a debate among lawyers, public intellectuals, politicians and judges on the threat that they pose to the Greek sovereignty. The present paper is situated within this debate. It argues, first, that while ratifying and implementing the Financial Assistance Packages has been nothing more than a voluntary act made by a sovereign state that failed to effectively meet its economic obligations by reference to the markets, still, such ratification and implementation of the ‘Memoranda’ impedes the very foundations of popular sovereignty as described in the Greek constitution. The reason being that the ratification and implementation procedure of the ‘Memoranda’ has showed flagrant disrespect of Articles 28 and 36 of the Greek Constitution and thus of popular sovereignty. Second, it focuses on how the growing practice of the Greek governments to issue acts of legislative content instead of laws in order to avoid parliamentary scrutiny further deconstructs rule of law by shedding light on the legal procedure that led to the closure of the public broadcaster. Finally, the paper assesses the impact of the austerity measures on social rights by analyzing relevant decisions of the Social Rights’ Committee of the Council of Europe.

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