The ‘Brussels Effect’ and the International Order

Anu Bradford discusses the state of the EU on European Council on Foreign Relations podcast.

As the world’s largest single market, the European Union has both a stake in the future of the liberal international order and the capacity to influence it, contends Anu Bradford, the Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, and director of the European Legal Studies Center at Columbia Law School.

Professor Anu Bradford
Professor Anu Bradford
In this episode of “The End of the World” podcast, Bradford talks with Mark Leonard, executive director of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), about the “Brussels effect,” the term she coined to describe adherence to European standards by multinational companies across their global operations in areas from the environment and consumer protection to privacy.

“What’s interesting is that we have underappreciated the ability of Europe to leverage that market size outside its borders,” says Bradford, whose research and teaching focus on the law of international trade, antitrust, and the EU.

Though Europe needs the cooperation of other countries in such areas as international finance or to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran, a retreat from multilateralism by the U.S. and U.K. leaves the EU able to influence outcomes internationally, Bradford argues.

“Many times Europe is portrayed as too weak to lead, too consumed by internal struggles, too inward focused, but this inward focus has generated such a robust internal market that Europe can leverage [and] that very much helps to sustain international outcomes,” she says.

Listen to the interview here.

“The End of the World,” a production of the ECFR, features discussions with global thinkers about challenges to the liberal world order that has defined international affairs since the end of the Cold War.

Recent guests include Jan Techau, director of the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum at the American Academy in Berlin; Edward Luce, the Washington columnist and commentator for the Financial Times; Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister from 2006 to October 2014; and Pankaj Mishra, essayist and novelist.

Further reading

The Brussels Effect,” Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 107, No. 1 (2012)

Professor Anu Bradford Sheds Light on Antitrust Law


Posted on October 31, 2017