Abstract

The protracted euro area crisis has led to a resurgence of academic inter- est in integration theories. In a recent piece in this journal, Bauer and Becker argue that the euro crisis allowed the European Commission to strengthen its role in eco- nomic governance, in particular with regard to its implementation powers. Contrary to Bauer and Becker’s claim, I contend that the euro crisis has resulted not in strengthening the Commission. Rather, the Commission is undergoing “subtle disem- powerment”, that is, a gradual transfer of decision-making authority and resources from the Commission to the intergovernmental level and to the European Central Bank. I illustrate the Commission’s subtle disempowerment along three dimensions: the creation of the intergovernmental European Stability Mechanism; enhanced over- sight mechanisms of the Commission via the troika constellation; and the creation of the European System of Financial Supervision, Banking Union and Single Supervisory Mechanism under the aegis of the European Central Bank.

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