The position of higher education institutions (HEIs) in the European integration project mirrors tensions between EU economic integration and the wider mission of the EU and its Member States, which are frequently discussed as tensions between economic and social integration. On the one hand, the EU does not use the supranational method of integration in this field but employs soft law measures (Open Method of Coordination (OMC) and the extra-EU Bologna Process). On the other hand, the main activities of HEIs, namely higher education and research, constitute yet another field where the forces of directly applicable Treaty provisions, such as Union citizenship, the free movement provisions and provisions on competition law and state aid, may deconstruct some national policy concepts. At the same time, HEIs in many Member States have been subjected to national policies, partly influenced by EU policy, that force them to commodify their ‘products’, making HEIs more vulnerable to the economic provisions of EU law and potentially forcing further commercialisation which could endanger the traditional non-economic mission of European HEIs. This book explores how EU law and policy impact on the HEI sector with a specific focus on the exposure of HEI research to EU competition law and draws the conclusion that an alternative approach may be indicated.

Whilst tensions between the economic and the social have generally received increasing awareness over the last decade,[1] HEIs have received less attention in this respect and work which has investigated the influences of EU law on HEIs has mainly focussed on citizenship and the free movement provisions.[2] The consequences of EU competition law have only been tentatively investigated by few authors[3] and almost exclusively with regard to the education aspect of HEIs.[4] Furthermore, the discussion on the position of HEIs in Europe which takes place more widely in other disciplines[5] has received only limited attention from an EU legal studies perspective.[6]

This book aims to fill these gaps, by linking the debates and situating (European) HEI policy within the context of European integration theories. It will, furthermore, conduct an in-depth legal doctrinal analysis of potential EU competition law constraints on HEIs. This analysis is further specified for HEI research in three Member States (the United Kingdom (England), the Netherlands and Germany), whose HEI systems have been commercialised to different degrees. A qualitative empirical study will illustrate even more specifically how research in universities may be impacted upon by EU competition law (as an example of exposure to economic constraints) and in how far pivotal actors in universities are aware of this impact. The book will, thus, not only expand the knowledge about European (legal) integration and its effects on national HEI policies, but will also offer practical insights which can serve as guidance for policymakers and professionals in the national HEI sectors, allowing them to address potential problems and identify best practices.

  • [1] See, for example, the contributions in de Burca and De Witte 2005; Dougan and Spaventa2005; Neergaard et al. 2009; Mossialos et al. 2010; Schiek et al. 2011; Bruun et al. 2012; Burroniet al. 2012; Cantillon et al. 2012; Whyman et al. 2012; Neergaard et al. 2013 and Schiek 2013a.
  • [2] See, for example, Van der Mei 2005; Dougan 2008; Garben 2008; Reich 2009 and Damjanovic2012.
  • [3] In addition to the author’s own work (Gideon 2012, 2015a), the main commentators are:Steyger 2002; Swennen 2008/2009; Amato and Farbmann 2010 and Greaves and Scicluna 2010.
  • [4] Aside from the author’s own work (Gideon 2015b), the exception are Huber and Prikoszovits2008.
  • [5] See, for example, Van der Ploeg and Veugelers 2007; Cardoso et al. 2008; Koch 2008;Wissema 2009; Corbett 2012 or the contributions to Enders and De Weert 2009; McKelvey andHolem 2009; Palfreyman and Tapper 2009a and Chou and Ulnicane 2015.
  • [6] Most prominently by Garben 2010, 2011.
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