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Procedure over substance? CETA and the political economy of subsidiarity

Walzenbach, G�nter



Competing notions of subsidiarity can help to understand the intricacies of new types of trade deals as concluded between Canada and the European Union. From this perspective the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) balances two fundamentally different models of economic distribution and decision making authority either giving priority to private actors and their domestic communities or to political institutions aiming for a social embedding within global markets. Examining CETA as an unusual compromise in international regulatory cooperation, this article focuses on the settlement of highly contentious issues through complex procedural innovation. While this eventually made a final agreement between trading partners with two different polities possible, it could not settle widely diverging assessments about the long-term economic effects of the new deal. As a consequence, and to build bridges between distinct spaces of subsidiarity, the final agreement represents a flexible and open-ended approach to future trade relations.


Walzenbach, G. (2019). Procedure over substance? CETA and the political economy of subsidiarity. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 57(2), 153-171.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 21, 2019
Publication Date Apr 3, 2019
Journal Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
Print ISSN 1466-2043
Electronic ISSN 1743-9094
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 2
Pages 153-171
Public URL
Publisher URL