Can the European Central Bank Create a European identity?

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    In what ways do central banks construct community, and how may the European Central Bank (ECB) contribute to a supranational European identity? In this paper I seek to answer these two questions by developing a conceptual framework for the ways that central banks construct national identities and community. I use this framework to discuss the possibilities and challenges to the European identity-construction of the ECB. I argue that central banks generally create national identity and outline national communities in four ways: (a) through the practice of designing and circulating banknotes and coins, (b) by conducting national monetary policy that reinforces an impression of popular sovereignty and shared national fate, (c) through the statesman-like authority of the central bank director, and (d) through the headquarters of the banks themselves which operate as commemorative monuments. I then use the ideas to reflect on whether or not the ECB might contribute to the construction of a European identity. I argue that the ECB may contribute to European identity through the circulation of euro banknotes and coins, and that the ECB’s anti-inflationary policies may promote European community. However, the identity-cultivating qualities of the ECB are severely challenged by the continuous existence of national central banks that function as strong symbols of national identity within the different member states.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIanus - Diritto e Finanza
    Issue numberSpecial Issue
    Pages (from-to)41-60
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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