The Green Deal, a new tool for European economic intervention policy

Chronic. By adopting, on July 14, the proposals of the green pact for Europe, the Brussels Commission affirms that it is putting all of its economic intervention tools in line with the objective of eliminating carbon by 2050, responding to the climate emergency, and finally escaping the suspicion of immobility that strikes European states and businesses in the face of future disasters. With 600 billion euros devoted to the measures of the pact over the next seven years in the most diverse fields (agriculture, energy, industry, research, training, etc.), the Commission says it can, by leverage effect, generate 1 trillion dollars. investments in ecological transition.

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Ambition might spark a bit of irony in these days of widespread Euroscepticism. However, this would not be the first time that the European institutions have played a major role in the changes in the economy of the member countries, as shown by the work of the researchers meeting in Paris, on September 6 and 7 at Sciences Po, by the Center for European Studies and Comparative Politics.

In the 1950s and 1960s, show Pierre Alayrac and Antonin Thyrard (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), the European Coal and Steel Community, then from 1967 the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB ) lend millions of “units of account” (the ancestor of the euro) to companies. The priority is then to rebuild the infrastructure devastated by the war (transport, energy, telecommunications), and to bring the coal and steel companies, considered to be the engines of the economy, to the level of international competition.

Direct loan, without intermediary

Between 1958 and 1965, more than half of EIB loans concerned infrastructure, and a third, these basic industries. The financial tool used is essentially the direct loan, without intermediary, the repayment being pledged on the productivity gains of the borrower. These operations are carried out by senior officials, lawyers or engineers from the senior administration of their respective countries, where they have applied the same policy at the national level.

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A change of scenery with the following two decades, when the economic crisis engenders stagnation, unemployment and inflation, and states are unable to raise the bar. Faced with the “American challenge”, senior European officials trained in economics suggest encouraging the emergence of new businesses and “European champions” capable of promoting the overall productivity of the economy, namely high technologies (semi -conductors, electronic chips, telecommunications, IT). The new European programs support research and development, small and medium-sized enterprises, through direct grants and co-financing.

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