Tensions between discourse and practice in the EU industrial collaborations
(ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)
Paper short abstract:
The national champions policy, absent in political discourses, is visible in the European instruments of support to industry. Moreover, an increasing share of the R&D of private companies is to be publicly funded, in spite of the minimalistic view of the role of the State in the economy.
Paper long abstract:
Ever since the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, it was clear that the European collaboration was easiest to justify at national level when short to mid-term economic advantages were to be achieved through that collaboration - as the widely known concept of European Added Value demonstrates. In this paper it is argued that the policy instruments that where developed throughout the years in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) European collaboration area, from ESPRIT and RACE in the first Framework Programs, to the Joint Technological Initiatives (JTI) in FP7 and H2020, are actually a reconfiguration of the national champions policy that, meanwhile, became unacceptable under the new mainstream political discourse on the role of the State in the economy. Moreover, and using an in-depth view into the JTI ENIAC, ARTEMIS and ECSEL, all dedicated to the ICT area, and all involving the European Commission, the Member States and the European industry, it is argued that the public authorities - both Member States and the Commission - have their decisions influenced by a political framework that actually gives them no other choice other than to take an increasingly greater responsibility on funding the R&D efforts of private companies. This pressure is justified by the need to support the competitiveness of the industry, either at national or at European level - even though the same actors that demand the support to the R&D activities of private companies maintain the discourse on the minimal intervention of the State in the economy.
Innovation: Discourses, politics, societies, and blind spots