Institutionalising a Big Idea: Identities, Interests and Moral Doubt Brought to Bear on the EMU

This paper reviews a significant volume discussing the emergence and development of the EMU: The Politics of Economic and Monetary Union by Petri Minkkinen and Heikki Patomäki(eds)

ARENA Working Paper 01/1999 (html)

Bent Sofus Tranøy

The European Monetary Union (EMU) is a truly epoch-making project, an experiment on a scale that almost defies comparison. Not just for the peoples and politicians of Europe, but also very much so for political science. Its re-emergence as an idea in the circles around Jacques Delors, its manifestation as a formal decision in the Maastricht treaty, and now its actual birth, provides political science with a near endless list of fundamental questions empirical and theoretical, positive and normative. This paper reviews one of the attempts to respond to these questions, The Politics of Economic and Monetary Union edited by Petri Minkkinen and Heikki Patomäki. It is argued here that this volume contributes to our understanding of the variety of interests, ideas and identities driving the EMU process. Two dominant common themes run through the politics of Economic and Monetary Union: (i) the theoretical tension between cognitive perspectives (i.e. ideas and interests) and material interests and power in explaining the EMU, and (ii) the democratic legitimacy of EMU’s institutions and policies. Among the most valuable insights of the book is that actors’ preferences are non-static and prone to change; finally, the book benefits from a safe anchoring in political science rather than economics.

A later version of this paper was published in Nordic Journal of International Studies, 34 (3): 297-310, 1999.

Tags: EMU, political economy, legitimacy, economic integration
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2011 2:22 PM