The Politics of the Eurogroup provides an intriguing look inside the euro crisis and the secretive forum of finance ministers that came to dominate it.
The history of the European Union is a history of crises and the leaps of integration they triggered. As the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and global power competition are clouding the prospects of the European economies, the member states are looking for solutions. Yet they find their options highly constrained by the economic and political realities created in the decade of the euro crisis. This book fuses a critical political economy perspective on structural relations within the Economic and Monetary Union with a power-based approach to its institutions. It explains why a political project of European austerity emerged from the Eurogroup and side-lined alternative policies, with repercussions still felt today. The author introduces a series of interviews with key decision-makers — ministers, central bankers, EU officials — as well as leaked audio recordings from Eurogroup meetings to give an authentic report of the power struggles between finance ministers. The book retraces how the Eurogroup rose to prominence in the crisis and how a few northern countries — led by the German and Dutch finance ministries — were able to exploit the group’s informal processes to shape the Economic and Monetary Union to their advantage.
With its interdisciplinary and investigative approach, this book will be of great interest for scholars and students concerned with European integration, international political economy, economics, institutionalism, and governance. It will also be of value for policy makers in the fields of European politics and economic governance.
Introduction: The Legacy of the Eurogroup Decade 1. The Eurogroup’s History and Institutional Peculiarities 2. Institutions in the Regulation of the EMU 3. The Euro Crisis as a Structural Crisis of the EMU 4. The Eurogroup Filling the Regulation Vacuum 5. The Project of Austerity-Political Restructuring 6. The Finance Ministers in the Greek Crisis 7. Institutional Power in the Eurogroup's Conflict over the Greek Program Conclusions: The Eurogroup and Austerity in an Era of Global Challenges