The European Project: Dismantling Social Democracy, Globalising Neoliberalism

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1 This reflected the close links between domestic capital in South East Asia and political élites in the region.

2 Similarly, Will Hutton (2003), editor of the Observer newspaper, argues that “we Europeans have a lot in common. Europeans believe in a social contract – the big idea behind the NHS and state education. Europeans believe that their civilisations are enriched by public interventions and institutions – from public footpaths to public service broadcasting”.

3 Staunton (2004) also notes that the Lisbon goals will “involve privatisation of state enterprises or the end of state monopolies”.

4 In the words of one Commission official, speaking in 1999, “The European Commission is going to rely heavily on the ESF... We are going to rely on it just as heavily as on member state direct advice in trying to formulate our objectives” (cited in Corporate Europe Observatory, 2003).

5 This ‘technicisation’ of politics is not confined to the EU level. In an analysis of the rhetoric of New Labour in the UK, Fairclough describes the Labour government as being about ‘governance’ – a regime for the management of public affairs – rather than being about politics, where politics is defined as “the domain of struggles amongst groups of people over substantive aspects of social life, including, centrally, struggles over the distribution of ‘social goods’ in the widest sense” (2000: 172). Whereas politics is characterised by “disagreement, dissent and polemic”, governance tends to “exclude, marginalise or suppress disagreement” (Fairclough, 2000: 172). This suppression works through the denial that there is even a political choice to be made, by insistence on the existence of a single technically correct solution to any given problem. Fairclough cites welfare reform as an example of where “the [Labour] Government’s policies are sold as merely technical solutions to an agreed problem… [as] managerial problem-solving” (2000: 180). A commitment to a technocratic style of governance is, arguably, longer established within EU institutions than most other (especially national) authorities (Joerges, 2001). This, perhaps, partly reflects the origins of the EU in seemingly hyper-technical matters of inter-governmental cooperation, including atomic energy (Barry and Walters, 2003).
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