Professor Anu Bradford discusses her recently published book The Brussels Effect. The book challenges the prevalent view that the European Union is a declining world power. It argues that notwithstanding its many obvious challenges, the EU remains an influential superpower that shapes the world in its image through a phenomenon called the “Brussels Effect.”
The Brussels Effect refers to the EU’s unilateral power to regulate global markets. Without the need to resort to international institutions or seek other nations’ cooperation, the EU has the unique ability among nations today to promulgate regulations that shape the global business environment, elevating standards worldwide and leading to a notable Europeanization of many important aspects of global commerce. Different from many other forms of global influence, the Brussels Effect entails that the EU does not need to impose its standards coercively on anyone—market forces alone are often sufficient to convert the EU standard into the global standard as multinational companies voluntarily extend the EU rule to govern their global operations. In this way, the EU wields significant, unique, and highly penetrating power to unilaterally transform global markets, including through its ability to set the standards in diverse areas such as antitrust regulation, data protection, online hate speech, consumer health and safety, or environmental protection.
Anu Bradford is Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organizations at Columbia Law School. She is also a director for Columbia’s European Legal Studies Center and a Senior Scholar at Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business at Columbia Business School. Her research focuses on international trade law, EU law and comparative and international antitrust law. Bradford is the author of “The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World” (OUP 2020).
Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of European Law, Jaan Paju
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