Benjamin Constant in Frankfurt: The Neutral Power of the ECB

When observing the constitutional function of the ECB, scholars are faced with a riddle: how is it possible that a technocratic institution can muster enough constitutional authority to maintain the unity of the Eurozone with unconventional monetary policies?
The paper explores a specific research hypothesis: within the Eurozone, the ECB perceives its own constitutional role in terms of a neutral power. This should be understood in Benjamin Constant's terms: a power that reigns but does not govern. The paper intends to show that the source of ECB’s power is the fundamental norm of the Eurozone: the fetish of the value of the common currency. Accordingly, the ECB is – materially and symbolically – the institutional guardian of this fundamental norm. The paper will illustrate this point by looking at the principle that guided the implementation of the Asset Purchase Programmes: market neutrality.