“Between Voters and Eurocrats. How Do Governments Justify their Budgets” – 11 April 2024


In Between Voters and Eurocrats, Johannes Karremans presents a framework and methodology for studying these questions. Based on theories of democratic legitimacy, he argues that if governments temporarily pursue unpopular policies with the justification that they need to be fiscally responsible, in subsequent years they need to become more responsive again to domestic socioeconomic demands in order to maintain the trust of citizens.

The recent crises faced by European countries have repeatedly evoked the impression that European economic governance constrains governments’ ability to be responsive to domestic demands. Today, especially in the European Union, maintaining financial sustainability of the state has become tied to international obligations. Karremans raises the concern that financial considerations are more important than people’s demands and investigates whether this proposition is true through comparative study focussing on five countries – Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – and explores how governments maintain a balance between institutional responsibility and democratic responsiveness.

Johannes Karremans is Professor of Political Science at ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille.