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Contesting the European Central Bank in Banking Supervision: Accountability in Practice at the European Parliament

Adina Maricut‐Akbik

Journal of Common Market Studies, 2020, vol. 58, issue 5, 1199-1214

Abstract: The establishment of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) raised expectations regarding the ability of the European Parliament (EP) to hold the European Central Bank (ECB) accountable for its decisions. This article examines the accountability interactions between the two institutions in the first years of the functioning of the SSM (2013–18). The focus is on the extent to which the EP contests ECB supervisory decisions in practice through letters and public hearings. The analysis shows a frequently‐used infrastructure of political accountability that is however limited in ensuring the contestation of ECB conduct in banking supervision. The study identifies problems with the performance of the EP as an accountability forum and with the tight confidentiality rules of the SSM, which allow the ECB to silence contestation on many politically salient issues. The findings are based on an innovative analytical framework on the study of accountability interactions.

Date: 2020
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