From the Treaty of Paris to Globalization: Steel and its ‘Escape’ from EU Governance

Geoffrey Dudley and Jeremy Richardson

in Constructing a Policy-Making State?

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199604104
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741531 | DOI:
From the Treaty of Paris to Globalization: Steel and its ‘Escape’ from EU Governance

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Steel is a very deviant case in terms of this volume. All of the other chapters suggest that the direction of change is the same, namely more, rather than less, Europeanization. For much of its long history, EU steel policy did exhibit periods of very high Europeanization, particularly in times of crisis. In these circumstances, EU steel policy has been very 'top down' and dirigiste, with Brussels exercising strong powers over member states and firms. Yet the long term trajectory of EU steel policy has undergone a sea change, in which the policy sector is now subject to rather low degrees of Europeanization. Thus, steel has not exhibited the seemingly inevitable 'ratchet effect' of Europeanization, whereby it appears impossible to reverse any shift in power to Brussels. Three main reasons are advanced for this possibly unique development. Firstly, market changes have been an extremely powerful force with which public policy has had to cope. Firms have developed a set of preferences that have challenged exiting policy frames. Secondly, public policy makers have developed new policy frames that have also lead to changes in preferences and the fundamental questioning of the rationale of existing policies. Thirdly, the strong forces of globalization have been some kind of tidal wave or tsunami that has swept aside most of the need for a specific EU steel policy regime. Steel has lost its status as a special case, and is now treated like any other industry and is, hence, much less Europeanized.

Keywords: steel; globalization; policy frames; markets

Chapter.  8999 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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