Accountability and Democratic Legitimacy in European Union Economic Governance: From the Euro Crisis to the Pandemic and Beyond

Menelaos Markakis, Charikleia Kafka, Lina Papadopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article looks at the measures that were adopted in response to the euro crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic and their implications for accountability and democratic legitimacy in the area of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The discussion begins with the legitimacy issues that were facing the EMU/the European Union in the aftermath of the euro crisis, as well as the accountability and transparency arrangements obtained in the area of European Union economic governance. The focus then shifts to the further evolution of the Economic Union (the “E” of EMU), as triggered by the European Union’s response to the pandemic. The relevant section does not purport to provide a detailed exegesis of the powers of the Union
institutions, bodies, offices and agencies (and their domestic-level, principally technocratic, counterparts) in all sub-fields of EMU. It rather aims to illustrate the significance of their ever-expanding tasks, as well as the need for the exercise of those powers to be subject to robust accountability and transparency arrangements. Accordingly, the discussion of the key features of these novel measures is followed by analysis of the accountability arrangements that are enshrined therein or accompany them, as well as their implications for the
legitimacy of EMU/the European Union. It will be shown that, although some progress has been made in terms of accountability and transparency, plenty of gaps remain. The penultimate section will provide a glimpse into what the future may bring for EMU, thereby looking at other suggested reforms that could be implemented in order to further “deepen” EMU. It will be argued that those reform plans emanating from (or under consideration by) the European Union institutions have not always placed enough emphasis on the need for robust accountability and transparency arrangements and that their potentially far-reaching nature bolsters the argument made in this article that such arrangements are indispensable. It will be concluded that our assessment of the degree of accountability and democratic legitimacy in this area varies depending on the aspects of crisis reforms one focuses on. It is further argued that the empowerment of the European Parliament (and, where appropriate, of national parliaments) in EMU matters must continue in the future, especially as more reforms are implemented to ensure a robust EMU framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-110
JournalIrish Jurist
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2023


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