Planning for a Post-Neoliberal Age? The Political Economy of EU Industrial Policy

IMPRS Colloquium

  • Date: May 9, 2022
  • Time: 03:00 PM
  • Speaker: Luuk Schmitz
  • Doctoral Researcher, visiting from EUI
Planning for a Post-Neoliberal Age? The Political Economy of EU Industrial Policy
The fate of European integration is inextricably linked with the governance of its industries. 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 in pursuit of digital sovereignty, a trade policy moving away from the mantra of 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 that is made up of anti-statist institutions? I argue 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. I examine the political economy of industrial policy both at EU and member state levels, and substantiate the argument through a mix of case studies, interviews, discourse network analysis, and document analysis.





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