The Constitutional Guardianship of the ECB

This paper analyses the European Central Bank’s (ECB) emergency measures during the Eurozone Crisis in the light of the debate between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt on the nature of constitutional guardianship. It presents the debate between Kelsen and Schmitt as one concerning conflicting conceptions of political authority, constitutional law and the relationship between them. In addressing how the ECB’s emergency measures during the Crisis relate to these competing conceptions, the paper discusses how the particular form of constitutional guardianship that the ECB took upon itself in the Crisis transformed its constitutional position in the Eurozone. This transformed role highlights that the ECB’s emergency measures were not only of relevance to handling the crisis itself, but to shaping the normal functioning of the constitutional order of the Eurozone.