Planning for a Post-Neoliberal Age? The Political Economy of EU Industrial Policy
Luuk Schmitz (European University Institute, EUI)
European integration is inextricably linked with its industries’ governance. From the first steps of Franco-German reconciliation, industrial policy has been a leitmotif of market governance. In popular narratives, market-enhancing regulation has always shaped state–market relations. The last decade, however, shows several aberrations that question the endurance of this old paradigm. Recently, we have seen a green new deal to transform industries into zero-emission sectors, a digital policy to curtail big tech power, a trade policy moving away from free trade toward strategic autonomy, and a revamped competition and state aid framework to foster European champions. These developments raise a simple question: Why do we see statist policies emerging in a polity of anti-statist institutions? The project argues that the exogenous shock of a changed geopolitical environment opens up space to challenge established wisdoms and recalibrates the balance of power that orients EU integration. An examination of the politics of industrial policy at EU and member state levels supports the argument with a mix of interviews, discourse network analysis, and document analysis.