Governance by Funding NGEU, Solidarity and the EU Institutional Balance


The paper examines the NGEU governance and its implementation. It argues that, by combining the features of EU cohesion policy and of EU economic governance, NGEU has shifted the regulatory practices of economic policy towards a new type of “governance by funding”. This governance enhances the solidarity-based approach to EU economic governance, by replacing hard conditionality with financial support in pre-determined areas of investment (earmarking). Thus, the availability of financial resources is used as an incentive for solidarity, compliance and policy alignment with EU priorities. However, by linking NGEU funding with economic governance objectives and procedures in the framework of the European Semester, NGEU exacerbates some structural imbalances of the EU institutional setting. For instance, it ends up significantly strengthening the power of supranational technocratic institutions, in particular of the Commission, over Member States’ economic and fiscal policies.