Sizing up the competition: explaining reform of European Union competition policy in the Covid-19 era

Sophie Meunier, Justinas Mickus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ensuring fair competition has long been a core pillar of the European Union (EU). In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the EU has diverted significantly from its traditional commitment to market-based competition, notably in state aid and foreign subsidies. This article explores change and continuity in post-Covid-19 European competition policy (ECP) by considering both the radicality and permanence of these changes. Using process-tracing based on primary documents, secondary materials, and personal interviews, this article examines recent shifts in EU competition policy, probing three causal factors: 1) digitization of the global economy; 2) geopoliticization of competition regulation; and 3) Brexit. We argue that the Covid-19 crisis has brought these pre-existing challenges to ECP to the fore and, thereby, created space for policy entrepreneurs in EU member state governments and institutions to push for greater promotion and protection of European industry in the internal market while reinforcing supranational competition enforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1094
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of European Integration
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Keywords

  • Competition
  • covid-19
  • digitization
  • European Union
  • state aid

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