Left-wing industrial policy

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Brussels office, calls for tenders for a study: “What room for manoeuvre does the current legal framework within the EU offer for a left-wing industrial policy?

The financial crisis within the EU is gaining in severity. Although seven years have passed since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, many economies within the EU, such as Greece, are enduring the worst financial crisis since the Second World War. It is important to recognise that the period in which poorer countries within the EC/EU were catching up economically is over (for the time being at least). In fact, the gap between the production capacities of the various countries is even showing signs of growing, and countries like Italy and France have experienced deindustrialisation on a massive scale over many years. This trend towards a growing level of structural inequality has been exacerbated by the (crisis) policy pursued by the various EU institutions.
In such a situation, there is greater interest in a left-wing industrial policy that not only helps to preserve existing industries and jobs, but also helps to create “good jobs” with the aid of environmentally friendly and sustainable industry. That industry should help to create permanent and secure good jobs for employees, while also assisting countries and their economies in being able to respond better to any future financial crises, since this particular crisis has clearly shown that the countries with a stable industrial sector are those that have come out of the crisis in better shape. This study is part of a long-term project that is not merely about the creation of environmentally friendly and gender-sensitive jobs. Indeed, it also deals with the question of the democratisation of work in companies and a democratic economic policy in which workers and citizens are able to participate to a large extent in decision-making concerning production, distribution and consumption. This project is not about seeking to increase the competitive pressure between employees from different countries and companies even further, but rather the desire to ensure sustainable, good working conditions within a sector of the economy without which we will be unable to master the social challenges facing us in future.
In order to be able to better assess the room for manoeuvre for left-wing and progressive players, such as left-wing national and regional governments and trade unions, as well as cooperatives and occupied plants, we are therefore requesting a study to answer the following central question:
What room for manoeuvre does the current legal framework within the EU offer for a left-wing industrial policy, particularly with regard to development opportunities in peripheral countries (Art 173, ex 157, and any associated provisions)?
The EU’s Europe 2020 strategy from 2010 requires that industry’s share of GDP should be 20%. However, what legal room for manoeuvre do the various players referred to above have within the current legal framework of the EU to implement a left-wing industrial policy as described above? What are the challenges and problems, and what opportunities are there?

The following points should be examined with regard to this central question:

1. Do the following EU instruments provide opportunities for a left-wing industrial policy?

  • The flagship initiative “An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era” as part of Europe 2020
  • Structural funds
  • Smart specialisation
  • European Investment Bank
  • Horizon 2020
  • Juncker plan / EFSI
  • EIF

2. What impact do the new EU institutions, which were introduced as part of the crisis management measures, have in the field of industrial policy?
(e.g. Two Pack, Six Pack, European Semester, Competitiveness Pact, Fiscal Compact)
3. What opportunities are available for left-wing players from the state, society and the economy (trade unions, cooperatives, occupied plants) to join forces on a transnational basis?
4. What possibilities are available within the legal framework of the EU, including the basic treaties, to operate targeted sector-specific (“vertical”) re-industrialisation funding policies? To what extent would such initiatives encounter obstacles in terms of EU competition law?
5. What financial opportunities are available from a legal perspective for a progressive (re-)industrialisation policy?
6. The study should also include proposals on how legislation could be amended, without any changes to primary legislation, such that an active and constructive industrial policy (as opposed to merely a conservative one) could then be implemented. These proposals should then be shown graded according to the degree of legislative intervention required.


Technical details regarding the tender

Language of the study: English

Scope of the study: 40 pages, including a meaningful summary accessible to the public that can also be published separately from the paper.
Fee: EUR 9,500 (gross)
Please send applications by email to Martin Schirdewan (Martin.Schirdewan@rosalux.de) and Roland Kulke (roland.kulke@rosalux.org) Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Brussels.
Applications should include a CV, an abstract and a breakdown of the study.
The final deadline will be 1 November 2015 and the result will be announced on 5 November.
The study must be sent in its entirety by 15 February 2016.