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Voices from the past: economic and political vulnerabilities in the making of next generation EU


Armingeon, Klaus; de la Porte, Caroline; Heins, Elke; Sacchi, Stefano (2022). Voices from the past: economic and political vulnerabilities in the making of next generation EU. Comparative European Politics, 20(2):144-165.

Abstract

In this article, we show that Next Generation EU (NGEU) is mainly a response to the economic and political imbalances left over from the Eurozone crisis. It is a pre-emptive intervention, especially targeted at structurally weak economies with rising Euroscepticism, to avoid costly ex-post bailouts as in the Great Recession. We demonstrate, using quantitative analysis, that pre-existing vulnerabilities, rather than the impact of the pandemic, drove the allocation of NGEU resources: per capita grants largely correspond to past economic vulnerabilities, as well as to political ones. Countries most vulnerable to another adjustment by austerity after the COVID-19 economic crisis receive most resources. Also, countries with strong anti-EU sentiments are entitled to larger NGEU grants per capita. In contrast, grants are not correlated with the severity of the health crisis. Then, we show the domestic relevance of economic and political vulnerabilities through qualitative case studies of national political debates and domestic positions on NGEU in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Despite its innovative traits, NGEU is a politically constrained solution to address the mess from the previous decade, and as such, it is a Janus solution: promising a fresh start, but haunted by the past.

Abstract

In this article, we show that Next Generation EU (NGEU) is mainly a response to the economic and political imbalances left over from the Eurozone crisis. It is a pre-emptive intervention, especially targeted at structurally weak economies with rising Euroscepticism, to avoid costly ex-post bailouts as in the Great Recession. We demonstrate, using quantitative analysis, that pre-existing vulnerabilities, rather than the impact of the pandemic, drove the allocation of NGEU resources: per capita grants largely correspond to past economic vulnerabilities, as well as to political ones. Countries most vulnerable to another adjustment by austerity after the COVID-19 economic crisis receive most resources. Also, countries with strong anti-EU sentiments are entitled to larger NGEU grants per capita. In contrast, grants are not correlated with the severity of the health crisis. Then, we show the domestic relevance of economic and political vulnerabilities through qualitative case studies of national political debates and domestic positions on NGEU in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Despite its innovative traits, NGEU is a politically constrained solution to address the mess from the previous decade, and as such, it is a Janus solution: promising a fresh start, but haunted by the past.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:European Union · COVID-19 · NGEU · Germany · Italy · The Netherlands
Language:English
Date:22 March 2022
Deposited On:07 Feb 2023 15:53
Last Modified:28 Apr 2024 01:49
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN:1472-4790
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-022-00277-6
Official URL:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41295-022-00277-6