The State of the Union: The Politics of Integration in Banking and Energy

Project Start:01/2019
Researchers:Burkard Eberlein, Sandra Eckert
Area: Financial Intermediation
Funded by:LOEWE

Topic and Objectives:

The project has compared integration dynamics in two high-profile projects of the European Union, namely the European Banking Union (EBU) and the Energy Union. Based on analysis of documents and half-structured interviews, the project pursued the double goal of (1) comparing the degree to which regulatory oversight has been centralized at the European level and (2) uncovering the involvement of regulated industry in the regulatory process. The project output on these two issues was published as a SAFE Working Paper No. 278 and as an article in the Journal of European Integration in January 2020 (with B. Eberlein) respectively. Preliminary project findings regarding political discussions on EBU reforms will feed into research conducted by the new SAFE project “Economic & Monetary Union at a Crossroad”. 

Key Findings

  • paths of agencification vary significantly in energy and banking with respect to a) the process: incremental change in energy versus sudden change in banking and b) the outcomes: a stronger degree of institutional centralization yet also a significant degree of policy fragmentation in banking.
  • technical cross-border cooperation in the electricity sector is characterized by elements of private governance (Journal of European Integration 2020) and regulated industry also plays a significant role in implementing the EBU’s second pillar but in contrast to electricity there are no formalized structures of cooperation.

Policy Implications 

Although the lack of implementing certain provisions of the EBU (e.g. bail-in rules for banks) to some extent results from deficiencies in the institutional architecture, it can only fully be understood from a political economy perspective. In order to identify political obstacles, further research into how we can explain why reforms remain futile is needed.

Related Published Papers

Burkard Eberlein, Sandra EckertPrivate Authority in Tackling Cross-border Issues. The Hidden Path of Integrating European Energy Markets
Journal of European Integration
2020 Financial Intermediation
Sandra EckertSupranational Authorities and Private Actors as Drivers of Single Market Integration? The State of the Union in Electricity and Banking
Journal of European Integration
2022 Financial Intermediation
Sandra EckertEuropean Administrative Networks, Private Networks and Agencies: Coexisting, Cooperating or Competing?
Journal of European Public Policy
2022 Financial Intermediation

Related Working Papers

278Sandra EckertEU Agencies in Banking and Energy Between Institutional and Policy Centralisation2020 Financial Intermediation agency, banking, centralisation, energy, fiduciary, electricity, policy
341Sandra EckertThe Limits of Joint-Institutional Frameworks for Sectoral Governance in EU-Swiss Bilateral Relations: Lessons for Future Relations with the UK2022 Financial Intermediation