The International Representation of the Eurozone and of the Eurosystem: The Role of the ECB

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Table of Contents: I. The complex institutional balance in the external relations of the European monetary policy: legal bases. – II. The external relations of the European Union in international economic and monetary relations. – III. The external relations of the eurozone: the ECB as a representative of the Union and of the eurozone. – III.1. Institutional “intricacies”. – III.2. Practical arrangements. – IV. The external relations of the ECB under art. 6 of the ESCB Statute: transnational technical monetary relations? – V. Residual functions of national central banks: do they also pertain to external relations? – VI. Political and technical obstacles to a unified external representation, and the advantages of speaking with one voice. – VII. Concluding remarks: the ECB and other actors.

Abstract: This Article will attempt to answer three main questions: i) whether the ECB is a qualified representative for the eurozone or the Union in international fora – and if so, ii) to what extent its role falls within art. 138 TFEU or rather art. 6 of the ESCB Statute – and iii) whether national central banks in the eurozone enjoy any residual competence in managing external activity falling within the area of monetary relations and specifically ESCB technical cooperation projects. To that end, it will be necessary to explore the current external projection of the Union and of the eurozone in the area of economic and monetary policies and their representation in the main fora in charge of global economic governance. Specific attention will be paid to the impact of the dichotomy Union-eurozone on the EMU external relations. In the concluding remarks, the advantage of a single eurozone external representation at all levels will be pointed out, after having explored the political and technical obstacles which explain the delay in the achievement of such an objective.

Keywords: European Central Bank – EMU – Eurosystem – euro area – EU external relations – monetary policy.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 2, pp. 799-831
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/596

* Full Professor of European Union Law, Università del Salento,


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