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The European Banking Union: its Impact on the EU and its Member States, and on Accountability Standards

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IMPACTEBU (The European Banking Union: its Impact on the EU and its Member States, and on Accountability Standards)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-08-31

This project aimed to examine the consequences of the creation of the European Banking Union (EBU) within the EU. By considering in particular the French, the German and the Italian cases, it sought to determine what its impact has been on institutional balance at the national and the EU levels, and what implications in terms of multilevel governance have become visible. In particular, it asked whether accountability is sufficiently guaranteed and whether any gap has emerged.
This project provided a three-dimensional analysis of the new supervisory and regulatory framework in place, and of the accountability standards it is subject to: 1. The EU institutional dimension, which studied the impact of the introduction of the EBU on the EU institutions/bodies, and especially the ECB, and what this change involved in terms of accountability; 2. The Member State dimension focused on the impact of the implementation of the EBU on national institutions; 3. The multi-level dimension, which examined how the EU and its Member States interact within the EBU, as well as how the accountability mechanisms that apply at the national and EU levels to systems and procedures that are operated jointly by EU and national bodies or institutions are designed and function in practice.
It is important for society because economic and especially banking-related matters are of particular importance to national and European economies and thus to the wealth and well-being of EU citizens. This is the very reason why the EBU was launched in 2012: among other things the euro area crisis had demanded that Member States invest considerable amounts of taxpayers’ money into the banking system and the EBU was meant, among others, to severe the doom loop between banks and sovereigns. The COVID crisis and especially the war in Ukraine and the economic downturns they have provoked have only reinforced the need for a Banking Union, as is evidenced by the fact that, for example, its functioning and its completion have been recurrently discussed by Member States over the last period.
As detailed above, the work performed led to significant results as regards the impact of the creation of the EBU, and of integration in the financial domain in general, on Member States’ and the EU’s institutional frameworks, their multilevel cooperation, and accountability standards.
These results have been disseminated in the form of publications of several kinds including blogposts, book chapters, journal articles and a newspaper article. Further dissemination in the form of, for instance, a working paper and policy briefs is still expected. Furthermore, the research outcomes stemming from IMPACTEBU were presented in numerous settings such as seminars, workshops, conferences, (online) courses. They have hence reached a very broad audience, which includes the general public and especially pupils and young Europeans, students, academics from law, economy, political economy and political science, practitioners from EU and national institutions and bodies, and relevant stakeholders. The findings were also made available open access for their most part, and were widely advertised.
This project shed some light on important aspects of the Banking Union, and European integration in the financial domain in general, that had thus far not been considered by (academic and especially legal research), or had only been examined to a limited extent.
This is, for instance, the case of the impact of these initiatives of integration on Member States and their institutional frameworks, as well as of the impact of the creation of the Banking Union on accountability standards. Another dimension which this project considered is the impact of the creation of the Banking Union for citizens. As such, this project contributed to identify that, in fact, factors other than the initiatives of integration at the supranational level have, too, played an important role in shaping national institutional frameworks, and that actually domestic traditions or factors, or influence stemming from international forums have played a large(r) role. It also showed that the belonging to the Banking Union is not a significant factor in this regard. It allowed highlighting that some reforms may still be required, and that accountability standards at the domestic level have, in some instances, been improved whilst in other instances they have been worsened following the creation of the Banking Union, such that no immediate general conclusion may be drawn in this respect.
This project also examined the consequences of its creation for the EU’s institutional system. More generally, this project contributed to show how specific the Banking Union is if compared to other initiatives of integration within the EU.
These findings are particularly useful to inform the current discussions on the future of the Banking Union, as well as new reforms under consideration.
This project gave rise to new collaborations between scholars and practitioners, which have endured and developed further beyond the realm of this project. Also, this project has allowed to successfully build close ties to especially the Bank of Italy, with which a larger co-coordinated comparative publication is forthcoming.
This project’s findings have been disseminated to a large and varied audience which has included students at Sciences Po and other European academic institutions, legal scholars, economists, political economists and political scientists, practitioners from EU and national institutions, as well as a broader (young) public.