"The implementation of the European Fiscal Compact in Austria as a post-democratic phenomenon."
, in ICAE Working Paper Series, Nummer 15, 6-2013
The implementation of the European Fiscal Compact in Austria as a post-democratic phenomenon.
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The European Fiscal Compact came into force by 1 January, 2013 in 25 EU Member States. With the ratification the signatory countries hand significant parts of their budget to the European Court of Justice which, such as the EU ?Economic Governance package? or the ?European Semester,? is a good example for a ?judicialization of politics? (Hirschl 2008). In the aftermath of the economic crisis a tendency can be observed to interpret the financial and economic crisis mainly as a sovereign debt crisis without any connection to the preceding crisis. This is reflected in several recommendations, which limit the scope of political decision-making in order to ?calm financial markets.? A striking example for the subordination of political discourse to ?the market? (Ötsch 2009) is given by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel: ?Of course we live in a democracy and it is a parliamentary democracy [?] so we shall find ways to shape parliamentary co-determination so that it nonetheless conforms to the markets.? (Merkel cited in: Zepp-LaRouche 2011)
Following Colin Crouch?s conception of ?post-democracy? (Crouch 2004, 2011a) the process of the implementation of the European Fiscal Compact, moreover, can be interpreted as an example for a post-democratic phenomenon: While on the surface all democratic institutions and rules are working properly, an increasing number of core political decisions are made ?behind closed doors?, mainly justified as economic inherent necessities. At the same time economic elites enter the field of political discourse and economic rationality is becoming the main guideline for policy-making. The implementation of the European Fiscal Compact in Austria offers a good example for analyzing a post-democratic implementation of a strict market radical economic agenda in order to legally fix the longer-term predominance of neoliberal thinking in the EU.