Failing outward: Power politics, regime complexity and failing forward under deadlock

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Failing forward describes an endogenous cycle of EU institution-building through lowest-common denominator breakthroughs in Council. I add a dynamic called failing outward, in which a powerful state creates and/or uses non-EU institutions to override Council deadlocks and compel EU legislative initiatives that reflect its own priorities. This moves the EU forward through the power of an outside institution. Unlike differentiated integration that evades deadlock, powerful states exploit control over a critical, excludable resource and conditionality to override deadlocks, demanding EU rules and institutions in line with their own interests rather than the entire Council. Repeated institutional fixes remain necessary as the system fails (some) other Member States. I apply this model to Germany’s effective authority through the European Stability Mechanism over Council and Commission in determining EMU reforms, including Banking Union.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European public policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • European Stability Mechanism
  • Financial crisis
  • European integration theory
  • international relations
  • Global governance
  • EMU
  • Banking Union
  • Instability
  • Failing Forward

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