Free Riders, Allies, or Veto-Players? The Role of Small Creditor States in the Euro Area


This project investigates how small creditor states in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) – such as Austria, Estonia, or Finland – pursue their preferences in the shadow of German hegemony. Are they just free-riders or do they pursue their own agenda in the Eurozone? What strategies do they use to realize their interests, and why do they opt for some strategies instead of others?

By comparing six small creditor states, the project will, first, asses their room for manoeuvre in EMU. Second, it will generate knowledge about the preferences and behaviour of those EU member states that often remain understudied due to their size. Finally, the project will evaluate the extent to which future EMU reform will depend on the preferences of small creditor states.

Director: Gerda Falkner (Profile)
Post-doctoral researcher: Magnus Schoeller (Profile)
Funding: Austrian National Bank (Anniversary Fund, project no. 17643)
Duration 2018-2020


Research Output

Schoeller, Magnus: “Preventing the Eurozone Budget: Issue Replacement and Small State Influence in EMU“, Journal of European Public Policy 28:11 (November 2021), 1727-1747.

Schoeller, Magnus and Falkner, Gerda : Germany, the "New Hanseatic League" and the Role of Smaller States in the Economic and Monetary Union, Special Issue of German Politics, forthcoming 2022.

Schoeller, Magnus and Falkner, Gerda: “Acting in the Shadow of German Hegemony? The Role of Small States in the Economic and Monetary Union (Introduction to the Special Issue)“, German Politics (online first, December 2021), DOI: 10.1080/09644008.2021.2005028.

Schoeller, Magnus: Free Riders, Allies or Veto Players?Preferences and Strategies of Smaller Creditor States in the Euro Area. EIF Working Paper 02/2020

Schoeller, Magnus: New Hansa and Frugal Four: The Role of Small Creditor States in the Economic and Monetary Union. ÖGfE Policy Brief 2020/18 (July 2020)

“Europe: Pays-Bas, Autriche, Suède... le 'club des radins' fait de la résistance“ [Europe: Netherlands, Austria, Sweden... the 'club of frugals' is resisting], Interview for magazine article in Challenges, 3 June 2020.

“‘It’s not a French-German Europe’: How small creditor states stand up for their interests in the EU“, London School of Economics' EUROPP blog, 30 September 2020.


Vienna Research Sessions on European Integration
Small States in the Economic and Monetary Union:
David versus Goliath?

Date: 06.12.2018 - 07.12.2018

Institute for European Integration Research, Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Vienna