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Building Fortress Europe Economic realism, China, and Europe’s investment screening mechanisms

  • This thesis deals with the construction of investment screening mechanisms across the major economic powers in Europe and at the supranational level during the post-2015 period. The core puzzle at the heart of this research is how, in a traditional bastion of economic liberalism such as Europe, could a protectionist tool such as investment screening be erected in such a rapid manner. Within a few years, Europe went from a position of being highly welcoming towards foreign investment to increasingly implementing controls on it, with the focus on China. How are we to understand this shift in Europe? I posit that Europe’s increasingly protectionist shift on inward investment can be fruitfully understood using an economic realist approach, where the introduction of investment screening can be seen as part of a process of ‘balancing’ China’s economic rise and reasserting European competitiveness. China has moved from being the ‘workshop of the world’ to becoming an innovation-driven economy at the global technological frontier. As China has become more competitive, Europe, still a global economic leader, broadly situated at the technological frontier, has begun to sense a threat to its position, especially in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. A ‘balancing’ process has been set in motion, in which Europe seeks to halt and even reverse the narrowing competitiveness gap between it and China. The introduction of investment screening measures is part of this process.

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Author:Nicholas Flaherty
URN:urn:nbn:de:hbz:385-1-21226
DOI:https://doi.org/10.25353/ubtr-fa65-a05f-4183
Referee:Joachim Schild
Advisor:Joachim Schild
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language:English
Date of completion:2023/12/21
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Granting institution:Universität Trier, Fachbereich 3
Date of final exam:2023/12/15
Release Date:2024/01/08
GND Keyword:Außenwirtschaft; China; Europäische Union; Europäische Union Verordnung zur Überprüfung ausländischer Direktinvestitionen; Wirtschaftspolitik
Number of pages:292
First page:2
Last page:292
Institutes:Fachbereich 3
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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