New Perspectives on EU-IMF Relations: A Step to Strengthen the EMU External Governance

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Pragmatic arrangements in the EMU external governance. – II.1. The legal and political obstacles against the external projection of the Euro area. – II.2. The pragmatic arrangements: The EU in the IMF. – III. The impact of the 2010 IMF reform implementation on the EU. – III.1. The EU representation in a renovated IMF Executive Board. – III.2. New quota assignments and the EU. – IV. A single EU chair in the IMF? The 2015 Commission Proposal and the way forward. – IV.1. The EU membership possibilities at the IMF. – IV.2. Improvement of the coordination of the EU Member States on IMF issues. – IV.3. Euro area unified representation. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: After many years of inactivity, the time has come to activate the external side of the EMU and surpass the time of pragmatic arrangements applied until now to the EU-IMF relationship. The economic crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis in Europe have forced more transfers of competences from the EU countries to the EU institutions in the economic policy field, and this new dynamic in the European integration process provides a strong rationale for the EU and Euro area to reassess the external representation of the EU on EMU issues, including the participation in international institutions and fora and, in particular, in the IMF. Moreover, the implementation of the 2010 IMF reform after the US congressional approval will eliminate legal obstacles to a consolidation of the EU Member States’ constituencies in the IMF. To develop Art. 138 TFEU, the European Commission presented a proposal to enhance the Euro area representation in the IMF in October 2015. After a reshuffling of the current IMF constituencies with Euro area Member States, the proposal advocates EU mixed representation in the IMF (EU and their Member States) with a single chair for the Euro area in the IMF Executive Board from 2025.

Keywords: EU external action – external representation of EMU – EU-IMF relationship – 2010 IMF reform – EU single chair in the IMF – Art. 138 TFEU.

European Papers, Vol. 1, 2016, No 2, pp. 469-499
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/51

* Professor of Public International Law and European Union Law, University of Granada Law School (Spain) and Legal Secretary at the Court of Justice of the European Union,



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