By Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Jan Drahokoupil, Laura Horn
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Extra info for Contradictions and Limits of Neoliberal European Governance: From Lisbon to Lisbon
Next to the political crisis besetting European governance, the European economy has also been rather stagnant since the turn of the millennium – with the more recent cyclical upswing now being threatened again by the rapidly unfolding global credit crisis. The ambitious goal to become the ‘most competitive’ economy in the world by 2010, set at the Lisbon summit of March 2000 (European Council, 2000), has turned out to be illusory. Arguably, the crisis of European governance and the disappointing (socio-) economic performance of recent years are related inasmuch both are signs of, as well as feed into, a weakening of the European project, both internally, vis-à-vis Europe’s populations, and externally, within the global political economy.
Far from these collective interests comprising the lowest common denominator of shared interests in the reproduction of the general external conditions of the circuit of capital (such as money and law), they are not wholly pregiven and must be articulated in, and through, specific accumulation strategies which establish a contingent community of interest among particular capitals. (1990: 159, emphasis original) State actors and the state as a site of social struggles have a major role in formulating and implementing hegemonic projects and accumulation strategies and thus in reshaping the balance of interests in society.
The Lisbon policy framework therefore helps to promote the kind of national competitiveness strategies that I argued above mediate and effectuate a transnational process of neoliberal restructuring. Hegemonic articulation and the incorporation of contending social forces Notwithstanding Lisbon’s neoliberal bias as analysed above, what remains crucial about Lisbon in ideological terms is the articulation of neoliberal competitiveness with the objectives of social cohesion as well as its focus on shaping the conditions for a ‘knowledge-based economy’ (involving some role for public authorities beyond letting the market do its work).
Contradictions and Limits of Neoliberal European Governance: From Lisbon to Lisbon by Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Jan Drahokoupil, Laura Horn