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The EU’s Truth by Omission: Learning and Accountability after the Eurozone Crisis

Kovras, I. & Kutlay, M. ORCID: 0000-0003-4942-1001 (2022). The EU’s Truth by Omission: Learning and Accountability after the Eurozone Crisis. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 24(1), pp. 187-204. doi: 10.1177/13691481211013705


While the literature generally frames crises as catalysts for organizational learning, most theories focus on ‘success’ stories of learning–ex post facto explanations of why certain ideas gained traction after a specific crisis. Less emphasis has been placed on lessons that were likely to be drawn, but were not. In probing this point, we explore the EU’s selective learning after the recent Eurozone crisis. Reforms were mostly top-down institutional and macroeconomic ones, while good practices developed by individual European states in the domain of accountability were ignored. In particular, we focus on the absence of a truth commission, an independent institutional mechanism mandated to carry out a forensic investigation of crisis management and convert past policy failures into lessons for future institutional reform. Why, despite the direct exposure of EU policymakers to these commissions, did this institutional mechanism not travel to Brussels? Drawing on semi-structured elite interviews and primary sources, we argue only organizations with an embedded institutional capacity for self-reflection (meta-learning) possess the required institutional skills to put certain issues into the spotlight.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in British Journal of Politics and International Relations ( This version may differ from the copy-edited and formatted one published in the Journal. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses
Publisher Keywords: Crisis Management; Truth Commissions; Learning; European Union; Crisis
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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