The European Union’s (EU’s) 2006 Global Europe communication established an offensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) agenda premised on serving the interests of the EU’s upmarket exporters at the expense of the EU’s remaining “pockets of protection”. This has remained in place with the advent of the 2010 Trade, Growth and World Affairs strategy. Such a development defies both rationalist International Political Economy (IPE) explanations – which emphasise the protectionist bias of societal mobilisation – and accounts stressing the institutional insulation of policy-makers from societal pressures because the recent economic crisis and the increased politicisation of EU trade policy by the European Parliament have coexisted without leading to greater protectionism. Adopting a constructivist approach, we show that this turn of events can be explained by the neoliberal ideas internalised by policy-makers in the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Trade. We then deploy a novel heuristic to illustrate how DG Trade acted upon these ideas to strategically construct a powerful discursive imperative for liberalisation.
constructivism, EU trade policy, strategic discourse, Europe 2020, Global Europe, economic crisis.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
- Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
- Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
- Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.