Germany's Institutional Power and the EMU Regime after the Crisis: Towards a Germanized Euro Area?

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Year of publication: 2016
Author(s): Mattias Vermeiren, Federico Steinberg
Appeared in: Journal of Common Market Studies


Abstract

In this article we examine the constraints on Germany’s influence over the reforms of the macroeconomic governance regime of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Drawing on the insights of historical institutionalism, we show that the German government’s control over the process is constrained by the increased sunk costs of European monetary integration and the unintended negative spillovers from its management of the Eurozone crisis. While the German government attempted to promote the domestic societal interests underpinning its creditor preferences by deflecting the burden of macroeconomic and institutional adjustment onto the debtor countries, negative feedback loops linked to the pursuit of these preferences induced it to accept a less orthodox and increasingly accommodative central bank to make the EMU sustainable.