Democratizing the Euro Area without the European Parliament: Benoît Hamon’s “T-Dem”

von Sébastien Platon

On the 10th March, the official candidate of the Socialist Party for the French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, outlined his programme for the European Union. This programme, whilst being against austerity and in favour of more flexibility as regards EU requirements in terms of public budgets and public debts, comes with a treaty proposal, the draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area (dubbed « T-Dem »). This treaty, which was prepared by the candidate together with the superstar economist Thomas Piketty (who has joined his team) is supposed to bring more democracy to the governance of the Euro area. However noble (and necessary) this ambitious idea might seem, the way this draft treaty has been engineered raises not only political but also legal questions.

Presentation of the T-Dem

First, it has to be noted that, according to Hamon, this T-Dem would not be an amendment to the European Treaties – which, as the explanatory statement says, “appears strongly impracticable in the short term” – but an international treaty signed by the Member States of the Euro area, in parallel to the existing European treaties. Such a method is reminiscent of the Schengen Agreements and, more recently, of the other treaties concerning the Governance of the Euro Area signed in 2012, namely the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG also known as “Fiscal Compact”), the aim of which is to strengthen budgetary discipline among Member States of the European Union, and the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which created an international organisation located in Luxembourg to act as a permanent source of financial assistance for member states in financial difficulty ...

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