EU Industrial Policy in a Globalised World - Effects on the Single Market

Författare: Andhov Marta, Bastidas Venegas Vladimir, Engberg Katarina, Hettne Jörgen, Papadopoulos Thomas, Wiberg Maria

As the EU aims at strengthening the competitivity of European companies, the functioning of the Single Market comes to the fore. Is a more assertive industrial policy compatible with free and fair competition? This question is studied in a volume focusing on the legal instruments that govern the EU’s internal market. (2020:1op)

In March 2020, the European Commission launched a New Industrial Strategy for Europe aiming at strengthening European companies against pressures from new geo-economic patterns and the erosion of the global level playing field. An industrial policy could however conflict with the very foundations of the Single Market: free movement as well as free and fair competition.

In this volume, the aim is to deepen the understanding of the relationship between a European industrial policy and some essential parts of the Single Market:

  • Katarina Engberg, SIEPS, gives an overview of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe and the political rationale behind the EU’s renewed interest in industrial policy.

  • Maria Wiberg, SIEPS, discusses the interaction between an EU industrial policy and the Single Market. While underlining that there is room for promoting the EU’s interests, she argues that a common understanding will be the main challenge.

  • Vladimir Bastidas Venegas, Uppsala University, discusses the EU’s competition law and concludes that the current enforcement of competition law does not hold back the competitiveness of European industry. Instead, the main problem could be the underenforcement in digital markets.

  • Jörgen Hettne, Lund University, considers the European competences within industrial policy, focusing on the rules on state aid. He argues that the EU might need a more aggressive industrial policy when the rules-based international trade system is not working.

  • Marta Andhov, University of Copenhagen, examines the EU rules related to public procurement, concluding that these rules do allow a level playing field in the Single Market, whether the actors come from the EU or not. However, this requires a political will and the necessary capacity within the public sector.

  • Thomas Papadopoulos, University of Cyprus, analyses European company law and underlines its complementary but effective role in relation to foreign direct investment screening, including in Member States that already have a sophisticated system of screening.

The current coronavirus pandemic has had profound effects within these areas. Among other measures, the EU has relaxed its budget rules, suspended the state aid rules, and urged the Member States to avoid “predatory buying” of companies. At present it is unclear what this might entail for specific policy areas in the long run. It is however clear that the crisis has heightened the interest in the EU’s industrial policy.

Listen to the authors when they shortly present their analyses and comment the impact of the pandemic (in English).