In a Spirit of Solidarity? Justifying the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in National Parliamentary Debates

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Series Details Vol.52, No.4, July 2014, p826-842
Publication Date July 2014
ISSN 0021-9886
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This article examines national parliamentarians’ approval of the increased budgetary capacity of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in autumn 2011. Following the analysis of vote outcome and plenary debates in 11 euro states, it is found that the financial position of a state (creditors versus debtors) does not explain the patterns of support and opposition. Rather, two other factors account for these differences: Euroscepticism, and the government and opposition cleavage. In particular, whereas Eurosceptic MPs voted and argued against the EFSF, the parliamentary majorities supported it. Surprisingly, although the legal basis of the EFSF draws on solidarity among the European Union Member States, the supporters of the EFSF did not refer to this principle in their speeches but rather to pragmatic considerations such as national economic interests.

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