Towards Neoliberal Imperialism? Discussing the Implications of the New European Governance Emerging from the Fiscal Crisis and Administrative Reforms for the Identity of the EU

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Illimar Ploom


This paper is based on an article by Edoardo Ongaro published in the same issue of Administrative Culture and discusses the implications of the new model of governance emerging from the fiscal crisis and administrative reforms. In particular, it addresses the questions relating to the identity of the European Union in the context of the cuts of public budgets that the ECB and the Troika have requested from certain euro-zone countries. Following Ongaro, these interventions will be teated through the theoretical frameworks that policy transfer, Europeanisation, supranational governance and global institutionalism offer. As a further alternative, neoliberal imperialism will be brought in. The paper argues that embedded within the logic of the interventionist measures there are two features which deserve attention. The first concerns the coercive form that does not bring to mind the “normal” one characteristic to the EU legal system but with its peculiar bargaining logic rather reminds of the international setting. The second touches the content of the measures which is not “constructive”, as the EU narrative would presume, but considerably “destructive”. Thus paradoxically, while the motives behind the measures could still be supposed to follow broadly the neofunctionalist path, their implementation and outcome point instead towards the model of neoliberal imperialism.

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