“The European Semester: An Ordoliberal Construct?”, Dimitrios Argyroulis (IPS, Luxembourg)

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have inflicted a decisive blow to ordoliberalism’s influence on the economic governance of the Eurozone. This contribution shows that the decline of the ordoliberal ideas precedes the pandemic and can be traced in the management of the financial crisis of 2007–2009. Drawing on the theoretical approach of sociological institutionalism and using insights from 18 interviews with participants in the Economic and Financial Committee and the ECOFIN, this article analyses the evolution of policy-makers’ economic policy beliefs and their impact on the fiscal reform of 2010–2013. It is argued that the establishment of the European Semester was the institutional reflection of an intellectual shift from rules-based to institutions-based discipline. I find that the latter conflicts with core ordoliberal principles of the Freiburg economic school, opening the way for alternative institutional arrangements, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

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