A Blairite Treaty: Neo‐Liberalism and Regulated Capitalism in the Treaty of Amsterdam

Mark A. Pollack

in European Integration After Amsterdam

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296409
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599989 | DOI:
 A Blairite Treaty: Neo‐Liberalism and Regulated Capitalism in the Treaty of Amsterdam

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The EU's founding Treaties have been characterized by political contestation along two dimensions: a centre‐periphery dimension in which centralization to Brussels is opposed to national sovereignty, and a left‐right dimension pitting a center‐right project of market liberalization against a center‐left project of ‘regulated capitalism’. From the Treaty of Rome through the Maastricht Treaty, the fundamental thrust of the treaties has been neoliberal, focusing on the creation of a unified European marketplace, while side agreements have secured some elements of the regulated capitalism project. In this context, the Treaty of Amsterdam represents an outlier: a Treaty that addresses the central concerns of the regulated capitalism model (e.g. employment, social policy, and the environment), but does so primarily through new regulatory instruments and comparison of best practices rather than binding EU regulations. For good or ill, this ‘Blairite Treaty’ reflects the ‘Third Way’ governing philosophy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Keywords: Amsterdam Treaty; best practice; centralization; market liberalization; national sovereignty; neoliberalism; regulated capitalism; regulation; Third Way; Tony Blair

Chapter.  11481 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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