Continuity and Change
Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series
Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri
Chapter 7: The European Central Bank: Enlargement as Institutional Affirmation and Differentiation
7. The European Central Bank: enlargement as institutional aﬃrmation and diﬀerentiation Kenneth Dyson Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has been the single most important and ambitious policy project in the history of European integration. It represents ‘asymmetrical’ integration. Monetary policy is uniﬁed in the European Central Bank (ECB), which manages the single currency for a group of member states, whilst ﬁscal policies and economic policies to promote growth and employment remain the responsibility of the member states. The result is a Euro Area within the larger EU and a single monetary policy that sits alongside a variety of ﬁscal and employment and growth policies that are formally coordinated at the EU level. Hence the Euro Area has been characterized as ECB-centric (Dyson 2000). A recent empirical study shows that members of the key EU committee in economic governance, the Economic and Financial Committee, believe that EMU had enormously strengthened the eﬀectiveness of the ECB and to some extent the Euro Group of Euro Area ﬁnance ministers but substantially weakened ECOFIN, the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (Dyson and Quaglia 2008). A key question is what eﬀects EU enlargement is having on the institutional structures and functioning of this ECBcentric Euro Area? In addressing this question the chapter focuses logically on the ECB in its institutional context. The enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 member states in 2004, and then again to 27 in 2007, had little immediate visible eﬀect on institutional...
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