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Conditionality Measures within the Euro Area Crisis: A Challenge to the Democratic Principle?

Antonia Baraggia

Keywords: Conditionality; Memorandum of Understanding; European Stability Mechanism; Euro Crisis; Democracy

The crisis of the Eurozone and the risk of default for countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal has led to the intervention of international and supranational institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, which provided bailouts under a strict programme of conditionality measures to be implemented by the borrowing countries. The first part of the article explores the nature of conditionality measures and their impact on democratic governance within the European Union legal framework. The second part of the article considers the challenges posed by conditionality specifically to the European Union legal framework—including human rights protection and the democratic principle—both at the European Union and at national levels. The third part deals with the role of the national supreme courts in judging the legitimacy of such interventions, acting as watchdogs with respect to the democratic principle but, at the same time, creating a ‘short circuit’ of legitimation regarding decisions made by national governments (even if conditional).

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