The principle of rule of law in times of financial crisis – institutional analysis

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: The financial crisis in the EU has been and still is a very researched topic. Because it affected negatively the assets of many individuals, the demand for academic text explaining the crisis is high. This is why, today there are countless books and articles dealing with the causes of the crisis and offering solutions how to overcome it. In this particular field, economics and law are very interconnected and require the author of the academic work to be familiar with both. However, even though this thesis uses many economic terms, its purpose is to present a legal analysis of the crisis and examine the changes in EU law caused by it. Therefore, this thesis offers different view and supplements the books which analyse the EU financial crisis from an economic perspective. As the topic suggests, the principle of rule of law is central to this thesis. This principle is important as it is the basis upon which the EU is built. However, similarly to fundamental rights, this principle is weakened in times of crisis. In this regard, there have been many cases before the Court of Justice concerning the legality of EU measures that intended to combat the financial crisis and its negative consequences. The approach of the Court towards these cases seems to differ from the approach to the cases pre-crisis. However, the principle rule of law must equally apply at all times, including times of crisis. The principle of rule of law is examined from the perspective of the EU institutions and bodies – the European Central Bank, as the main actor in the economic and monetary union; the Commission, as the executive of the Union, the various EU agencies as fulfilling certain tasks and finally, the Court of Justice of the EU as judicial authority which oversees the uniform application and interpretation of EU law. Each of these institutions has its role in the way out of the crisis. Moreover, each institution while fulfilling its tasks must conform with the principle of rule of law. Accordingly, a separate chapter is reserved in this thesis for the ECB. It was the most engaged institution when it comes to the crisis, but at the same time the most criticized institution. Another chapter deals with all the other above-mentioned institutions and bodies, which are examined in different parts of that chapter. These two chapters present the characteristics and historic development of the institutions or the bodies, but at the same time critically asses their actions and their role in the financial crisis. This is because every action of an EU institution or body affects the principle of rule of law and the overall legal system of the EU.

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