From the rule of law to the rule of rules: technocracy and the crisis of EU governance

Nicole Scicluna*, Stefan Auer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on two trends emerging through the eurozone crisis, both of which diminish the quality of democracy in the EU and its member states. Firstly, the crisis has led to an increased reliance on non-majoritarian institutions, such as the ECB, at the expense of democratic accountability. Secondly, the crisis has led to a new emphasis on coercive enforcement at the expense of the voluntary cooperation that previously characterised (and sustained) the EU as a community of law. Thus, the ECB’s (over-)empowerment is a synecdoche of a wider problem: The EU’s tendency to resort to technocratic governance in the face of challenges that require political contestation. In the absence of opportunities for democratic contestation, EU emergency governance – Integration through Crisis – oscillates between moments of heightened politicisation, in which ad hoc decisions are justified as necessary, and the (sometimes coercive) appeal to the depoliticised rule of rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1420-1442
Number of pages23
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Technocracy
  • eurozone
  • crisis governance
  • rule of law
  • European Central Bank


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