LEVIATHAN research: Supervising the banking supervisor

New paper by Adina Maricut-Akbik explores accountability, the European Parliament and the ECB.

A new paper by Hertie School postdoctoral researcher Adina Maricut-Akbik explores challenges for the European Parliament (EP) in holding the European Central Bank (ECB) accountable after its mandate was significantly widened in 2014 to include banking supervision, in addition to its original realm of monetary policy. The paper, “Holding the supervisor to account: The European Parliament and the European Central Bank in banking supervision” was written for the Jacques Delors Institute and the Bertelsmann Foundation as part of LEVIATHAN, a European Research Council-funded project on economic governance at the Hertie School.

Maricut-Akbik examines the accountability interactions between the ECB’s banking supervision arm and the EP in the first four and a half years since the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) was established. The analysis shows Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) demonstrated a poor track record in asking relevant questions to the ECB, and highlights the problematic format of public hearings held by the Chair of the ECB Supervisory Board. Specifically, the format does not facilitate a coordinated agenda of questions and follow-ups, organised by topic and raised in sequence. Maricut-Akbik also observes that there is a paradox between the strong interest of MEPs in information about specific banks  and the professional secrecy requirements of the SSM legal framework, which keep individual supervisory decisions confidential.

She also notes, however, that ECB Banking Supervision has been open to engage with questions about the organisation and the decision-making procedures of the SSM. But there are as yet no measurable indicators on the performance of the ECB as a bank supervisor, which MEPs and the public at large could use to assess its track record.

The research for this paper was part of the LEVIATHAN project ’Legal and Political Accountability in ‘Post-Crisis’ EU Economic Governance’ (2017–2021), led by Professor Mark Dawson and hosted at the Hertie School. The project is funded by the ERC under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no 716923).

Download a pdf of the paper here.

Find out more about the LEVIATHAN project here.


More about the author