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The EU Economic Security Strategy: a Novel Approach or the Re-emergence of an Old Idea?

Alexandros Lymperopoulos

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2024/1/7

Keywords: economic security, EU trade policy, competition law, Franco-German Manifesto for a European industrial policy.

The economic security strategy that the EU has recently introduced signals a turn in EU trade policy. Once a zealous advocate of free trade, the EU has now decided to adopt a ‘yes, but’ approach in its trade relations. This paper argues that the new strategy has been influenced to a degree by the trade suggestions of the 2019 Franco-German Manifesto for a European industrial policy. This paper also analyses the proposed tools of the new strategy and discusses their efficacy. It argues that economic security is distinct from, yet related to, industrial policy and explains why and how State aid law and merger control have a role to play in achieving economic security. The following analysis highlights that EU State aid law is aware of and responsive to international subsidies and seems aligned with economic security considerations. Regarding competition law, however, the European Commission has yet to understand the potential contribution of merger control in pursuing economic security and is hesitant to include it in the toolkit of the economic security strategy. That being said, aligning State aid and merger control with economic security is not without contradictions or risks.
Keywords: Economic Security; EU Trade Policy; Competition Law; Franco-German Manifesto For A European Industrial Policy.

Alexandros Lymperopoulos is a PhD researcher at the European University Institute. His research focuses on the regulation of subsidies. He is an attorney at the Athens Bar Association.


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