Vestager’s work for the EU Economic Security Strategy

Employment and Social Affairs

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Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commissioner for Competition, decided to go on leave from her job in Brussels in order to focus on her candidacy as president of the European Investment Bank (EIB). During the last few years, the Danish commissioner dealt with huge global corporations and platforms, especially the Big Tech ones, all of which had a huge political and social impact. 

One of the last projects on which Vestager worked as commissioner was the Joint Communication on a European Economic Security Strategy launched by the EU Commission in June. This document focused on minimizing risks “arising from certain economic flows” in the context of increased geopolitical tensions, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war clearly demonstrate, while also facing accelerated technological shifts. In such a scenario, the EU Commission highlighted the need to preserve maximum levels of economic openness and dynamism. Thus, the proposed strategy launched by the Commission aimed to set out a common framework for achieving economic security, in a way that promotes the EU’s economic base and competitiveness, protects against risks, and encourages the creation of partnerships with the broadest possible range of countries that share the same concerns and interests. 

The main areas in which the European Commission proposed to carry out assessments of risks to economic security are the ones associated with the resilience of supply chains, including energy security; the ones related to the physical and cyber security of critical infrastructure; those linked to technology security and technology leakage; and, finally, the risk of weaponizing economic dependencies or economic coercion. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU became used to these kinds of threats, which created a deep impact on the member states’ economies and affected European citizens. Still, some observers noted that the Strategy does not give a clear definition of “economic security”, leaving the door open to interpretation by member states and to eventual misunderstandings on the matter.

Written by: Francesco Marino

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