The Ethics of Sovereign Debt Network funded by YMP

Over the coming two years, Marco Meyer, Martin O’Neil, Alan Thomas (all York), and Janosch Prinz (Maastricht) will establish an international network of scholars and practitioners on the ethics of European sovereign debt, funded by the York Maastricht Partnership.

The network will host three workshops on work in progress. One of the main goals of the network is to secure a larger follow-on grant.

The European Union is not just an economic, but a political project. The Euro was supposed to facilitate political integration. Over the past decade, a household and bank debt crisis which turned into a sovereign debt crisis has led to the opposite effect. Moralizing tales of lazy Southerners and saintly Northerners and the purely technical administration of rescue packages continue to threaten the democratic legitimacy of European integration.

To address this problem, we propose to develop principles of financial ethics and institutional design for sovereign debt policies conducive to European integration. If the governance of sovereign debt in the Eurozone shall serve the goal of political integration, it cannot be guided by financial markets and economic theory alone. Such principles and institutional designs are called for despite the political independence of the European Central Bank. The current interpretation of its mandate has distributive effects which stand in need of non-technical guidance.

The first two years of the project mark the first crucial step for this bigger plan. Over two years, workshops in Maastricht, Brussels and York will:

  1. Establish an international network of researchers and practitioners based on merging the applicants’ current connections (‘The Ethics of Sovereign Debt Network’);
  2. Facilitate a large international funding application with significant components in York and Maastricht and increase the chances for its success;
  3. Increase the visibility of research at York and Maastricht on issues crucial for the future of Europe.
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