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The European Union’s international investment policy Explaining intensifying Member State cooperation in international investment regulation

Basedow, Johann (2014) The European Union’s international investment policy Explaining intensifying Member State cooperation in international investment regulation. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis seeks to explain the emergence of the EU’s international investment policy since the 1980s. Building on theories of European Integration, it tests two ex ante hypotheses. Hypothesis H1 builds on supranational thinking and stipulates that the Commission acted as policy entrepreneur and pushed for the communitarisation of international investment policy-making. Hypothesis H2 builds on liberal intergovernmental thinking and stipulates that European business successfully lobbied the Member States for a communitarisation of international investment policy-making in order to ensure access to competitive state-of-the-art international investment agreements. To assess the validity of these hypotheses, the thesis traces throughout history and examines policy-making instances, which decisively shaped the EU’s de facto and legal competences in international investment policy since the 1980s. It examines the EU’s involvement in investment-related negotiations during the Uruguay Round, on the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Mexico and Chile. It, moreover, analyses EU-internal debates on the EU’s legal competences in international investment regulation in the context of intergovernmental conferences on Treaty revisions and legal proceedings before the European Court of Justice. The joined analysis of international and EU-internal negotiations suggests that supranational thinking and Commission entrepreneurship best describe the integration process leading to the emergence of the EU’s international investment policy. The Commission acted as resourceful policy entrepreneur and used agenda setting, invoked the evolving trade agenda, fringe, implied and de facto competences, strategically used different international negotiating fora and legal review in order to consolidate the EU’s role in international investment policy. Functional and power considerations fuelled the Commission’s policy entrepreneurship. European business, on the other hand, was hardly informed, organised and interested in international investment policy-making. It did not seek to influence European or national policy-makers. The Member States, finally, occasionally favoured cooperating in certain international negotiating fora in order to maximise their bargaining power and to reach for the best possible deals with third countries. More often, however, they sought to contain the EU’s involvement and competences in international investment policy. The thesis makes an important empirical contribution to our knowledge of EU foreign economic policy. It is the first study to comprehensively document and to explain the EU’s role in the global investment regime. It, moreover, contributes to the long-standing debate between supranational and intergovernmental accounts of European Integration. It challenges mainstream assumptions on the role of business in the international investment regime and global political economy and finally contributes to historical institutionalist research on endogenous agency-driven institutional change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Johann Robert Basedow
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Woolcock, Stephen

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