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The European Union, southern multinationals and the question of the 'strategic industries'

Clifton, Judith and Díaz-Fuentes, Daniel (2010): The European Union, southern multinationals and the question of the 'strategic industries'.

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Abstract

This paper analyzes how the European Union has responded to Inward Foreign Direct Investment from Emerging Markets, particularly in the so-called Strategic Industries. Attention is focused on two sectors which have long been considered strategic assets by most countries around the world for decades: energy and telecommunications. In order to understand the dynamics of the EU's international investment climate, particularly from the perspective of emerging markets, the paper contains three main levels of analysis. Firstly, the changing international context, in particular, the extent to which IFDI from emerging markets has challenged the status quo of the traditional investment climate, as well as the unfolding financial crisis and economic recession. Secondly, the European authorities, principally the European Commission (EC), as the main institution responsible for forging the European Single Market and ensuring the “four freedoms,” (goods, services, capital, and people). Thirdly, individual member state behavior, since it lies with national governments to establish FDI policy, and satisfy domestic political economy and welfare demands. It concludes that, when analysed comparatively, the EU is still one of the world's most open regimes to IFDI and, though there is some evidence of protectionism vis-a-vis IFDI from emerging markets, there is also evidence of protectionism among member state economies themselves.

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