Translating Politics into Technocracy

Thursday, June 22, 2023, 10:00am-11:00am EDT // 16:00-17:00 CET

The European Banking Union in a Global Perspective

William O’Connell, DAAD/AGI Research Fellow

Peter Rashish, Vice President; Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AGI

The EU Banking Union is typically understood as a product of the unique politics of European integration. Yet two of the “three pillars” of the Banking Union – the Single Resolution Mechanism and the failed European Deposit Insurance Scheme – were shaped not only by intra-EU politics, but by the need to comply with a set of global standards on cross-border bank resolutions which were negotiated after the 2008 crisis. Accordingly, addressing the too-big-to-fail problem in the EU requires a regime which is both compatible with those of major non-EU financial centres, while also overcoming the usual barriers to EU integration: small states versus large states, northern states versus southern states, and Germany versus France. The result is a Banking Union where the deepest cross-border financial integration is paired with a patchwork of rigid, incompatible, and often incoherent national and EU-level crisis management frameworks.

This webinar explores how the EU bank resolution regime has developed through a process of translating the political issues inherent in crisis management into a series of technical puzzles: once at the global level, and then again through EU institutions. As with all translations, key elements are lost. The shortcomings of the Banking Union are therefore not simply a function of uniquely European politics, but rather a product of larger issues stemming from the delegation of complex and deeply political global governance problems to transnational technocratic authorities.

William O’Connell
William O’Connell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the politics of international finance, global governance, and the political economy of multinational corporations. Prior to pursuing his PhD, William worked as a policy analyst for the Government of Canada.

O’Connell’s dissertation research focuses on the history of cross-border bank failures and the development of the post-2008 regime for resolving too-big-to-fail banks. His work examines the extent to which cooperative relationships among individual technocrats, or between regulatory agencies, can compensate for or overcome more politicized barriers to international cooperation. More broadly, his dissertation explores the limits of the ‘soft law’ process typical of modern global governance in responding to international crises. Some of William’s other research has focused on the implications of the rise of China’s dominant consumer market on foreign censorship (published in Review of International Political Economy) and the regulation of cryptocurrency markets, for which he has made several media appearances.

This event is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.