An analysis of the evolving network of European policymakers on EMU, 1958-1992

Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol

Time and Place: Friday, 02.07., 09:20–09:40, Room 1
Session: Networks of Events

Keywords: Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); bimodal network; unimodal network

The study of a handful of ‘great men’ dominates the literature on the making of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe. The common understanding focuses on the so-called founding fathers — Jacques Delors, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Pierre Werner… — at the expense of the investigation of the role of other individuals involved in the discussions (Moravcsik, 1998; Marsh, 2011; Dyson and Maes, 2016).

By contrast, this paper analyses the full network of European policymakers involved in discussions about EMU in the European Economic Community (EEC) from 1958 until the 1992 Maastricht treaty that created the euro. European policymakers are here understood as the national and EEC civil servants and politicians who took part in the meetings of the various institutions and committees that participated in the discussions on European economic and monetary cooperation. For the period under consideration, this means up to thirteen institutions/committees (dates of creation of the institutions/committees vary): Monetary Committee, Committee of Governors, European Council, Council of Ministers, Economic Policy Committee, Short-term economic policy committee, Mid-term economic policy committee, Budgetary policy committee, Banking Advisory Committee, Working Party on the Coordination of Banking Legislation, European Investment Bank, European Economic and Social Committee, European Parliament. The paper provides an analysis of this network based on a comparison between 7 years over the whole period: 1959, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1984, 1989.

After having identified the relevant institutions/committees, I compiled the lists of membership and attendance of the meetings of those institutions. I then reconstructed the network using two different approaches, bimodal and unimodal. Both approaches are complementary as they reveal different but interconnected aspects about EEC policymaking. The bimodal network connects the individuals to the institution/committee they belong to. This allows to map the different institutions and committees and see, beyond the official/constitutional hierarchy, how closely connected they were (or were not). The unimodal network connects the individuals only, based on how often they attended meetings of any institution/committee together. This allows to map the personal interconnections, and measure the different degrees of centrality of the individuals in the network.

The data used is the lists of memberships either collected when they existed, or reconstructed from the records of meetings of the relevant institutions. The relevant documents were found in the archives of the European Union (Florence and Brussels), and in the archives of the EEC member states. I chose to focus on one year every five years, with three exceptions. 1959, rather than 1960, was chosen as it marks the first year of functioning of all EEC institutions as created by the Treaties of Rome. The absence of some of the membership lists for the years 1985 and 1990 and their availability for 1984 and 1989 explains the choice of focus on these years. I used the packages devtools and projectoR in R to transform my bimodal edge lists into a unimodal one; and Gephi for the visualisation and statistical analysis.

This research offers several important findings. The research uncovers the progressive construction of an EEC space for cooperation in economic and financial affairs over time. This space was very limited at the beginning in 1959, and became dense and complex especially from the 1960s-1970s. The research also reveals the marginalisation of some actors through time (European Economic and Social Committee, European Parliament); the consistent marginalisation of banking regulators/supervisors across time; the isolation of the executive centres of decision (European Council and Council of economics and finance ministers) from the rest of the network; the proximity and centrality of the group of policymakers involved in the Monetary Committee and Committee of Governors; the centrality of some figures (Marjolin, Mosca, Padoa-Schioppa…); and finally the changing centrality of some institutional roles (head of the EEC Commission’s Directorate General II, EEC Commissioner for economic and financial affairs). Combined with a broader analysis of the evolution of economic and monetary policy discussions from 1958 to 1992, these findings illustrate and qualify the shortcomings of the EMU as agreed in Maastricht, that is, a monetary union with a refusal to centralise key aspects of the ‘economic union’, in particular economic policy coordination and banking regulation/supervision.

Short bibliography

Dyson, K. H. F. and Maes, I. (2016) Architects of the Euro: intellectuals in the making of European Monetary Union. Oxford University Press.

Marsh, D. (2011) The Euro: The Battle for the New Global Currency. Revised edition edition. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.

Moravcsik, A. (1998) The choice for Europe: social purpose and state power from Messina to Maastricht. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.