In the shadow of sovereign debt conditionality: the rise of spending conditionality in the EU

For the last seven years, sovereign debt conditionality dominated the European public discourse. Courts called to adjudicate heavy conditions impeaching on constitutional core of EU nations. National parliaments vocally debating the democratic legitimacy of austerity measures. Executives busy implementing generous reform packages. Scholars actively commenting on the constitutional implications of crisis-driven conditionalities.

However, in the shadow of sovereign debt conditionality, another silent conditionality machinery was mobilised at the EU level – the spending conditionality. Even if less vocal then the crisis-driven conditionality, the rise of spending conditionality is in no way of little importance.

Under the current 2014-2020 budgetary period, massive packages of conditions have been vested on Member States through virtually all EU funding instruments implemented at national level, amounting to almost 80% of EU budget. Currently, virtually all EU money co-managed by Member States are bound by brand new and comprehensive sets of conditions: starting with the more generous EU budgetary envelopes of Cohesion (34%) and Agricultural Funds (42%) and ending with the rather modest allocations of Fisheries (about 1%) and Home Affairs Funds (below 1%).

In this contribution I do not intend to exhaust the incredibly vast spending conditionality list of the 2014-2020 funding regulations. Rather the aim is to raise awareness on the proportion of a phenomenon which has largely passed unnoticed in practice and point to some of its main implications for the future of EU constitutional construct.

What is spending conditionality and how is it different?

At a risk of oversimplification, a spending conditionality implies that EU Member Sates and, in some instances, final beneficiaries[1] must comply with a given conduct to access EU financial resources ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK