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Birkbeck academic receives £505,248 research grant for cutting edge research in European political economy

Professor Dermot Hodson has received the grant as part of Banking on Europe, a project co-founded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Fonds de la Recherche (FNR).

Dermot Hodson

Professor Dermot Hodson, a Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics, has been awarded the grant by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. The funding is part of Banking on Europe, a Bilateral ESRC/FNR project co-financed by the Luxembourg National Research Foundation.

Professor Dermot Hodson will serve as Principal Investigator on the project and Professor David Howarth from the University of Luxembourg, a leading authority on European financial institutions, as Co-Investigator.

The aim of the project is to generate new knowledge among academics and policymakers about the evolution and accountability of pan-European public financial institutions.

Institutions with the authority to raise funds on financial markets to provide grants, loans or guarantees were part of the European Communities' early efforts in the 1950s to support the coal and steel sectors and regional development. Such institutions formed key elements of European responses to the economic crises of the 1970s, the reuniting of Europe in the 1990s and the euro crisis in the 2010s, and they are now pivotal to the EU's response to COVID-19.

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank, now the world's largest multilateral lender, has provided 25 billion euros in guarantees for European businesses hit by the pandemic. This is in addition to the 750 billion euros that the European Commission plans to borrow to help with the economic costs of COVID-19.

As pan-European public financial institutions grow in importance, they face calls for greater accountability to governments, parliaments and NGOs. And yet, there is limited political science research on either the evolution or accountability of these bodies.

The project’s findings will generate new knowledge on: (1) the evolution and accountability of pan-European public financial institutions since 1950; (2) who is driving these developments and what this means for accountability; and (3) how accountable these bodies are in practice and how their accountability to governments, parliaments and NGOs can be strengthened.

Professor Dermot Hodson said: “This project is timely given public debates over how temporary responses to COVID-19 might permanently change the European Union. It is also relevant for understanding how Brexit will impact upon the UK’s continued membership of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the British government's search for a new relationship with the European Investment Bank.

“Banking on Europe offers value-added by fostering international collaboration on a topic of shared importance for the UK and Luxembourg, which are home to important pan-European public financial institutions. Our research will also inform debates about how a new generation of international public financial institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, can learn from Europe.”

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