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European Union Member State Influence over IMF Lending Decisions: An Invisible Tool of the CFSP?

Robert Kissack

In March 2014, Baroness Ashton, the EU's Foreign Policy High Representative, announced that the EU would call upon the IMF to help it provide economic support to Ukraine during the early days of the Russia annexation of Crimea. While the IMF has been highly visible alongside the ECB and European Commission as part of the 'Troika' responding to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, its role in foreign policy has been ignored by the literature. This paper addresses this shortcoming. There is a considerable literature contesting US influence over the lending decisions of the IMF and their relationship to US foreign policy objectives, but far less on other G-5 (US, Japan, Germany, France and UK) members' influence, with the exception of some evidence of France and the UK influencing lending decisions to former colonies (Stone 2004). The central question of this paper is to what extent are France, Germany and the UK able to use their positions of power in the IMF to influence lending decisions in support of CFSP objectives? To do so, it uses data gathered on UN member states changing their voting behaviour on the UNGA on resolutions in support of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty between 2007 and 2014, and decisions to lend to them through the IMF.

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