Volume 44 (2007) / Issue 2
Eight years after its establishment, the ECB has come now under an unprecedented attack by leading politicians campaigning in the presidential elections in France. They request a change in the constitutional status of the ECB, arguing for its “subordination to political decisions”. This article attempts to give a legal answer to this political challenge by recalling, first, the ECB’s independence and special characteristics which were constitutionally entrenched in the EC Treaty with the assent of all 27 EU Member States. Taking the academic controversy about the extent of the ECB’s independence as starting point, the article then turns to the re-cent clarifications brought by a first judgment of the ECJ which underlines the special nature of the ECB as independent specialized organization of Community law. The article finally addresses the ECB-related provisions of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which, by clarifying both the scope of the independence of the ECB and its integration into the Union’s constitutional system, have the potential to bring further stability and legitimacy to Europe’s young central bank.
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