Economic actors' political activity in 'overlap issues': privatisation and EU state aid control
Chari, Raj S. and Cavatorta, Francesco (2002) Economic actors' political activity in 'overlap issues': privatisation and EU state aid control. West European Politics, 25 (4). pp. 119-142. ISSN 0140-2382
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This paper considers the political activity of economic actors in what we refer to as ‘overlap issues.’ Such issues consist of two separate, but related, domestic and supranational decisions that are taken at both levels of European governance. Examined here are the domestic level privatisation policy-making processes in Spain, France and Ireland, and the subsequent European Commission decisions on the state aids given during the sales. The research argues that although the influence of economic actors is crucial in understanding the domestic-level privatisation aid negotiations, such actors’ participation is absent in the supranational decision-making process that witnessed all the aids being approved. In order to explain this limited political activity of firms at the EU-level, attention is focused on both the role of the member state and the paradoxes in EU policies that simultaneously guide and constrain the Commission from making a decision against capital. The conclusions situate our findings within the ‘elite pluralist’ literature on economic actors’ political activity in Europe while also considering the idea of the structural dependence of the EU on capital.
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