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The Political Economy of the European Union

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3890-4
224 pages
August 2010, Polity
The Political Economy of the European Union (0745638902) cover image


The core business of the European Union is the creation of an integrated European market. The scale of this project is enormous, covering a wide variety of national ‘models' of capitalism, many of which are marked by a heavy reliance on non-market institutions to govern and co-ordinate economic activity. This book introduces students to the fundamentals of European Union policy towards these national political economic governance institutions and the challenges arising from this evolving relationship.

Chapter One examines the role of institutions in governing capitalist systems. Chapter Two explores the evolution of the EU's liberal ambition over the last five decades. Subsequent chapters then analyse the development of EU policy in relation to the governance of product, financial and labour markets. What sort of restructuring has it sought to achieve? How great a challenge do EU policies present to national practices? How effective have been its strategies of Europeanisation? In short, to what extent has it effected a liberal transformation in the institutional governance of European capitalism? At issue are fundamental questions concerning the power and status of nation-states in the context of the most ambitious experiment in co-operative regional integration yet witnessed.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Boxes
1.Economic Governance, National Models of Capitalism and the Challenge of European Integration
2. The European Union and the Evolution of Liberal Europe
3. National Capitalisms and EU Competition Policy
4. Finance, Corporate Ownership and Governance in an Integrating Europe
5. Finance, Corporate Ownership and Governance: National System Change
6. Work and Welfare: National Capitalism and Social Europe
7. Social Europe and Industrial Relations
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Author Information

Dermot McCann is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at London Metropolitan University.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • New textbook introducing students to the fundamentals of European Union policy in terms of the creation of an integrated European market.
  • Provides a thorough analysis of the relationships between non-market institutions and capitalist systems throughout the history of the EU.
  • Presents and addresses the key challenges arising from current EU policies and strategies.
  • Explores crucial questions concerning the power and status of nation-states in the context of the most ambitious experiment in regional integration yet witnessed.
  • Will be essential reading for both undergraduate and postgraduate students studying the EU and European Integration, as well as students of comparative politics and political economy more generally.
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"A highly valuable introduction to European studies and EU political economy."
Journal of Common Market Studies

"An impressive analysis of the varieties of national capitalist models within the European Union."
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies

"A wise, knowledgeable and eminently readable account of the development of EU capitalism. Dermot McCann's study of the impact of EU-driven market liberalization upon national models of capitalism and of the limits and limitations of neo-liberalism is fascinating. The sections on work and welfare and on social Europe and industrial relations are worth the admission price alone. McCann's study of EU capitalism makes an invaluable contribution to comparative political economy."
Richard Dunphy, University of Dundee

"Dermot McCann has succeeded in producing a superb book on the political economy of the European Union. This rigorous and extremely readable account makes a major contribution to our understanding of the tension between economic governance at the European level and national patterns of governance that often challenge the EU's liberal ambitions."
Alasdair Blair, De Montfort University

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