How to Democratise Europe's Fiscal Rules

In this report, written for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Mark Dawson analyses the democratic implications of the European Commission’s proposals for the reform of EU fiscal rules. While the proposals seek an important set of goals – to insulate the EU against fiscal risks while allowing important social and environmental investments – the package also carries important democratic shortcomings. The report focuses on three important deficits – the inability of EU economic governance to achieve true national ownership of EU fiscal goals due to its failure to meaningfully include national Parliaments and civil society; the risks of inequality of treatment and lack of attention to the common European interest produced by the bi-lateral approach to dealing with national debt reduction; and the inability of the proposals to properly institutionalise their stated objectives to balance fiscal, social and ecological sustainability. The report develops suggestions for addressing these deficits, by giving national Parliaments and civil society a formal role in the adoption of national structural plans; by providing the European Parliament with co-decision rights in the Preventive Arm; and by integrating institutions with expertise on equality and climate impacts in fiscal planning. Taken together, these proposals seek not only to democratise the package but to allow it to fully realise its vital policy goals.


Dawson, M. (2023). How to Democratise Europe's Fiscal Rules: Proposals for Reforming the EU‘s Economic Governance PackageFriedrich Ebert Stiftung, ISBN 978-3-98628-412-1. 

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