As Open as Possible, as Autonomous as Necessary: Understanding the Rise of Open Strategic Autonomy in EU Trade Policy
With Timo Seidl
For decades, the EU’s trade policy has been centred around open(ing) markets. Why, then, has the EU recently embraced open strategic autonomy as the conceptual cornerstone of its renewed trade policy? In this article, we argue that this move away from neoliberalism has to be understood against the background of a changing global environment. The geopoliticization of trade in particular has changed the Commission’s view about how to best serve European interests (and values) but also provided an opening for neo-mercantilist and socially oriented actors to challenge Europe’s embedded neoliberal compromise. Using document analysis, interviews and discourse network analysis, we show how the Commission used open strategic autonomy as a coalition magnet to mobilize support for its new doctrine of qualified openness. Our paper contributes to understanding the ideational and coalitional politics behind the recent evolution of EU trade policy as well as broader debates around European autonomy and sovereignty. Download paper here
Schmitz, L., & Seidl, T. (2022). As Open as Possible, as Autonomous as Necessary: Understanding the Rise of Open Strategic Autonomy in EU Trade Policy. Journal of Common Market Studies. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.13428.