The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World


The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World



For many observers, the European Union is mired in a deep crisis. Between sluggish growth; political turmoil following a decade of austerity politics; Brexit; and the rise of Asian influence, the EU is seen as a declining power on the world stage.

Columbia Law professor Anu Bradford argues the opposite in her important new book The Brussels Effect: the EU remains an influential superpower that shapes the world in its image. By promulgating regulations that shape the international business environment, elevating standards worldwide, and leading to a notable Europeanization of many important aspects of global commerce, the EU has managed to shape policy in areas such as data privacy, consumer health and safety, environmental protection, antitrust, and online hate speech. And in contrast to how superpowers wield their global influence, the Brussels Effect - a phrase first coined by Bradford in 2012- absolves the EU from playing a direct role in imposing standards, as market forces alone are often sufficient as multinational companies voluntarily extend the EU rule to govern their global operations.

The Brussels Effect shows how the EU has acquired such power, why multinational companies use EU standards as global standards, and why the EU's role as the world's regulator is likely to outlive its gradual economic decline, extending the EU's influence long into the future.



Publication Date



Oxford University Press


New York, NY


"Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia University, originally coined the term "Brussel effect" and has been studying it for several years. Her impressive book assembles evidence going back decades, tracing its development from the "Reach" chemicals regulation, developed in the early 2000s, to the digital age. ... What is incontrovertible is that the Brussels effect has dominated global economic regulation to an under-appreciated extent. This book will be the definitive reference guide for those wishing to understand."
Alan Beattie, Financial Times


Administrative Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law | European Law | International Law | Law | Law and Politics

The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World

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