Monetary policy-making is one of the most far-reaching areas of European integration and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) stands as one of the European Union’s (EU) flagship integration achievements. Set up in 1999, with the large majority of EU member states, EMU involved asymmetric levels of integration with a less-centralised form of ‘economic integration’ on the one hand and highly centralised ‘monetary integration’ on the other. Although it has been clear from the outset that the asymmetrical EMU of the Maastricht Treaty was a fair-weather design, it was widely thought that either there would be plenty of time to reinforce economic integration as required, or EMU would eventually collapse due to its design flaws (Feldstein 1992; 1998). Few expected that the EU would be confronted with a full-on financial crisis and subsequent recession of the magnitude witnessed between 2007-2015. During this time, many member states, particularly in the euro area periphery, experienced severe recessions, with unemployment skyrocketing and debt levels reaching unsustainable levels. There was talk of whether Greece would be allowed to default. If left to its own devices it could have opted to leave the euro, which in turn could have created contagion, forcing the departure of other member states.

Many observers believe that EMU, as a whole or in some part, could have collapsed if the EU member state leaders did not demonstrate the political will to rescue Greece and other peripheral states. However, with the decision to adopt a number of emergency measures to protect the euro area and prevent the default of at least four periphery countries, the awareness grew of the need to set up new frameworks and modes of governance to complement the institutional structures that had been designed at the time of the Maastricht Treaty and had only experienced minor changes with the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. Confronted with a lack of will to restructure the Lisbon Treaty, a number of other policy and institutional mechanisms were conceived—thus the Six Pack (the European Semester), the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, the Fiscal Compact, the Two Pack, the European Financial Stability Facility, the European Stability Mechanism and the elements of Banking Union—and subsequently adopted to deal with the incomplete economic (and financial) integration that undermined the viability of EMU.

This workshop brings together scholars who are undertaking empirical fieldwork into questions about EMU in light of on-going theoretical debates in the literature. The authors in this workshop adopt a variety of approaches to theory and methods, applying a variety of conceptual lenses to illuminate this complex and rapidly moving development in European integration and allowing the authors to choose a methodology that best suits their research question. Taken together, the papers discussed in this workshop offer an authoritative state-of-the-art analysis of the institutional design of EMU, the challenges of the past decade, and the issues with which scholars are confronted in studying the multifaceted institutional phenomenon that is EMU. Using distinct methodologies, each paper draws out important insights with regard to the operation of EMU and seeks to answer—or at least shed new light on—some of the pressing questions that have emerged over the past decade.

The asymmetrical nature of EMU became very much apparent in the wake of the financial and sovereign debt crises, in response to the growing realisation that existing EU governance arrangements were ill-equipped to deal with the challenges faced. Looking back at the second decade of EMU compared to the first, we notice that while some issues are similar; others have changed considerably. EMU has generated redistributive effects. During the first decade of EMU, these effects did not translate into decreased legitimacy or an intensified perception of a democratic deficit. However, during its second decade, the intense difficulties facing EMU and institutional responses to these difficulties have intensified legitimacy and democratic concerns. During its first decade, EMU coped well with an asymmetrical institutional framework, with EMU largely decoupled from political union. During its second decade, however, the need for political integration has intensified given the risks of disintegration.

In this workshop we work towards a Special Issue of a journal. Each of the contributions to this Special Issue deals with these two issues from different angles. At the workshop we ask the discussant of the paper to present the paper briefly but spend most of the time offering an assesstment and constructive criticism and feedback.

The papers presented at this workshop deal with the following nine topics, which collectively form part of a comprehensive assessment of EMU developments over the past two decades:

  1. First, the euro area crisis brought to the fore the long-sought possibility that the asymmetry of economic and monetary policies in EMU could be solved through more federalisation — more ‘political union’. The past decade demonstrates how this process of federalisation followed an accidental — rather than a planned — design. At the same time the federal insights were there for member state governments and EU institutions to pick and choose from (Enderlein and Hodson).
  2. Second, the euro area crisis has also transformed the role of the European Central Bank (ECB). This institution was effectively the only one that could act on behalf of the entire euro area. No other institution was as able to act without having to consult various member state governments or reach watered down compromises. However, ECB unconventional monetary policies and participation in the Troika also resulted in considerable concept stretching as to its mandate and challenges as to the legitimacy of its operation (Chang).
  3. Third, due to the lack of deeper integration in the fiscal domain other types of arrangements were necessary to coordinate budgetary and fiscal policies. Some member states were very concerned about providing large sums of money to debtor countries. Thus, coordination needed to be achieved through other, more ad hoc, mechanisms. The EU drew on a mix of theoretical insights about optimal policy-making whilst being practical about what was attainable. The result was drawing on mechanisms first experimented with in the open method of coordination by introducing policy coordination through a mix of benchmarking, rules and sanctions. In due course the European Semester was developed to assist with fiscal policy coordination (D’Erman et al.).
  4. Fourth, how have the problems faced by euro periphery member states demonstrated the faulty design of the EMU architecture? How does the current EMU design intensify or mitigate the challenges that these periphery member states face? In their article, Notermans and Piattoni examine how the euro periphery has dealt with these challenges. What has been the impact of the Greek crisis of our understanding of EMU?
  5. Fifth, how did EMU contribute to the Greek crisis; and what has the EU and the rescue of Greece meant for EMU governance and the state of policy-making and governance in Greece (Pagoulatos)? The three Baltic states suffered considerably during the global financial crisis, but against the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to pursue euro adoption rather than floating exchange rates (Dandashly and Verdun).
  6. Sixth, the ad hoc nature by which EMU governance has developed since the outbreak of the Sovereign Debt Crisis has led many to question whether the legitimacy of the EU (or, more specifically, of the euro area governance) has been compromised. How has the democratic legitimacy of the euro been affected by the crisis? Are the concepts of output and input legitimacy still of use in this context (Crum and Merlo)?
  7. Seventh, since the outbreak of the Sovereign Debt Crisis, public opinion has surprised observers. On the one hand, the public has remained supportive of the euro and the EU institutions that back it. On the other hand, there has been a gradual decrease in the permissive consensus about the notion of European integration more generally. Some of the original six member states have become clearly less enthusiastic about European integration. Banducci and Loedel provide an innovative feminist account to examine one enduring trend in opinion on the euro — namely the significantly lower support from women.
  8. Eighth, where the EU managed to make good progress, but again not as fast as advocates might have hoped, was in the area of Banking Union (BU). Similar to EMU itself, some areas of BU were completed faster than others, in such a way that BU now reflects and reinforces the asymmetries of EMU that it was, rather, created to diminish (Howarth and Quaglia).
  9. Ninth, the Franco-German motor that drove European integration since the 1950s and the EMU project has also developed significantly over the past twenty years (Schild). The increasingly prominent position of Germany since the outbreak of the Sovereign Debt Crisis has created new challenges for all EU member states and has implications for recent and possible future institutional and policy developments.


Friday 16 November 2018

9:15-9:45 Arrival and coffee Leiden University (Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, room 5.A29)
9:45-10:30 1. Welcome and Presentation by David Howarth (University of Luxembourg) and Amy Verdun (Leiden University): ‘Introducing EMU at twenty: theoretical debates – empirical observations’ (no dedicated discussant)
10:30-11:00 coffee/tea break
11:00-11:45 2. Dermot Hodson (Birbeck College, University of London) ‘EMU and Political Union’ (discussant: James D. Savage, University of Virginia)
11:45-12:15 3. Valerie D’Erman (University of Victoria), Jörg Haas (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Daniel Schulz (University of Victoria and Technical University of München) and Amy Verdun: ‘Fiscal policy developments in EMU’ (discussant: Frans van Nispen, (Erasmus University and EUI))
12:15-13:30 lunch
13:30-14:15 4. Susan Banducci and Peter Loedel (University of Exeter): ‘What Can Women’s Support of the Euro Teach us about Monetary Union’ (discussant: Mark Hallerberg, Hertie School of Governance)
14:15-15:00 5. David Howarth (Univ. of Luxembourg) and Lucia Quaglia (University of Bologna): ‘EMU and Banking Union: Reinforcing Asymmetries’ (discussant: Shawn Donnelly, University of Twente)
15:00-15:30 coffee/tea break
15:30-16:15 6. George Pagoulatos (Athens University of Economics and Business): ‘EMU and the Greek crisis’ (discussant: Kevin Featherstone LSE, (conference call) and Tolga Bolukbasi, Bilkent University)
16:15-17:00 7. Joachim Schild (University of Trier): ‘EMU and the evolving Franco German Motor’ (discussant: Femke van Esch, Utrecht University)
17:00-17:15 brief break
17:15-18:00 8. Assem Dandashly (University of Maastricht) and Amy Verdun: ‘Euro adoption policies in the second decade – the remarkable cases of the Baltic States’ (discussant: Geoffrey Underhill, University of Amsterdam)

Saturday 17 November 2018

Workshop held an off-campus Location: Prentenkabinet, Kloksteeg 25, 2311 SK Leiden, Netherlands

9:00-9:45 9. Simona Piattoni (Trento University) and Ton Notermans (Tallinn University of Technology) ‘The EMU, the Euro and the Southern Periphery: the case of Italy.’ (discussant: Adriaan Schout, Clingendael Institute))
9:45-10:30 10. Ben Crum and Stefano Merlo (Free University of Amsterdam): ‘Democratic legitimacy in the post-crisis EMU’ (discussant: Markus Haverland, Erasmus University)
10:30-10:45 coffee/tea break
10:45-11:30 11. Michele Chang (College of Europe, Bruges): ‘ECB as sui generis? The ECB and central banking over the last 20 years’ (discussant: Ad van Riet, ECB)
11.30-12.00 12. Next steps for publication (David Howarth & Amy Verdun)\
12.00-14:00 Networking lunch
End of workshop

Sunday 18 November 2018 On the Thursday before the workshop, there will be a public event from 17:00 to 19:00 in The Hague. Details can be found here: Reflections on the Second Decade of Economic and Monetary Union

How has the Euro area done?
In 2018 it has been twenty years since the start of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in the European Union (EU). In this public panel we look back particularly at the second decade: how has the euro area done? How has it survived the financial crisis and the euro debt crisis? Are there still issues that need to be overcome? This public panel consists of a mix of politicians, policy-makers and academics who have followed the developments closely. Join us in listening to them.

Invited speakers

  • Bernard ter Haar (Director-General Social Security and Integration and formerly of the Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands)
  • Martin Heipertz (German Ministry of Finance)
  • George Pagoulatos (Athens University of Business and Economics and (co)author of A Roadmap to Exit the Crisis: A New Production Model for Greece
  • Waltraud Schelkle (London School of Economics and Political Science, author of The Political Economy of Monetary Solidarity. Understanding the Euro Experiment, Oxford University Press 2017)

Please confirm your attendance before 8 November 2018 to


If you want to participate in the The EMU at twenty workshop, please register by 7 November 2018 via

For any information, please contact: Amy Verdun or David Howarth

Friday, 16 November 2018 to Saturday, 17 November 2018

Leiden University
Pieter de la Court Building
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Seminar Room: 5.A29

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