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‘We Serve the People of Europe’: Reimagining the ECB's Political Master in the Wake of its Emergency Politics

Hjalte Lokdam

Journal of Common Market Studies, 2020, vol. 58, issue 4, 978-998

Abstract: In the wake of the Euro crisis, the mission statement on the European Central Bank's (ECB) website was changed from ‘Our mission is to serve Europe's citizens’ to ‘Our mission is to serve the people of Europe’. This article situates this discursive shift within a broader change of the ECB's self‐presentation in public discourses and explores its meaning in terms of political theory and public law. The article argues that the shift represents a response to the perceived necessity of reimagining the ECB's foundation of legitimate governmental authority following its exercise of emergency powers during the Euro crisis. The discourse emphasizes an organic link between the ECB and ‘the people of Europe’ as a political subject able to authorize previously unauthorized governmental practices such as the outright monetary transactions programme. It reflects, furthermore, a new governing philosophy that stresses flexibility and discretion rather than strict adherence to rules in the ECB's exercise of power.

Date: 2020
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