Thomas Warren


With a rapid centralisation of fiscal sovereignty now being aired as a possibility following on from the financial and economic crisis, this thesis considers how legitimising discourses are shaping the efforts to reform EU fiscal governance. Norman Fairclough’s ‘moderately constructivist’ three-dimensional framework for CDA is drawn upon. This approach is also combined with insights drawn from the new institutionalist literature base (particularly from its historical and discursive strands of thought), with an additional emphasis being placed on broader understandings of structural forms of power as developed through the writings of Susan Strange. It is found that the emerging debate over EU fiscal governance reform is dominated by a limiting neoliberal legitimising discourse. This research also makes a contribution to our understanding of the ideational and institutional roots of the current impasse in European Integration. Finally, it is concluded that the efforts to reform the EU’s fiscal governance arrangements are likely to bring about, at best, incremental change along a path-dependent line.

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