Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 12/2013

Don't complicate it even further: Macroeconomic Conditionality as a Substitute for new Structural Reform Contracts

Stijn Verhelst

May 2013

EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations


The idea of introducing contracts between Member States and the EU on structural reforms has its merits, it also has several disadvantages. Most notably, the contracts risk rendering European economic governance even more complex and cumbersome . It is therefore sensible to first try to integrate the structural reform contracts into one of the foreseen economic governance instruments. This Policy Brief argues that macroeconomic conditionality can serve this purpose. With some minor reforms, it could even become a full - fledged substitute for structural reform contracts – without suffering some of latter’s disadvantages.