The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union
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The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change

Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri

How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.
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Chapter 7: The European Central Bank: Enlargement as Institutional Affirmation and Differentiation

Kenneth Dyson


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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