Running an enlarged euro-zone – reforming the European Central Bank: Efficiency, legitimacy and national economic interest
This article analyses the December 2002 reform of decision making in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council in terms of national economy size reflected in the bargaining power of the ECB Governing Council members and member state macroeconomic interest. The National Central Bank (NCB) governors of the largest member states were concerned about the impact upon ECB monetary policy making of equal representation being extended to future member states. By eliminating equal voting rights, the reform distorts the meaning of equality, representativeness and ad personam participation as guiding principles of ECB decision making, moving from equal member state representation towards an emphasis placed upon Euro-zone economy representation. At the same time, two possible concerns watered down efforts to modify ‘representativeness’ and prevent enlargement contributing to inefficiency in Governing Council decision making. First, the current smaller member state NCB governors opposed a significant reduction of their ‘voice’ in ECB monetary policy making. Second, legitimacy concerns ensured persistent support for the maintenance of a large and ‘decentralised’ Governing Council.