40 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2009 Last revised: 2 Jan 2012
Date Written: February 16, 2009
The results of deliberations in multilateral fora are often considered as ineffective. Decision making in the European Union (EU) and in particular its key intergovernmental body, the European Council, poses no exception. Especially in the domain of EU foreign and security affairs the unanimity requirement governing this institution allegedly allows nationalist governments to torpedo any attempt to build up a credible European defense force and a unified foreign policy stance. In this paper, we take issue with the claim that multilateral summits merely result in "hot air" by looking at whether and how decisions made during EU summit meetings affect the European defense industry. We argue that investors react positively to a successful strengthening of Europe's military component - a vital part of the intensified cooperation within the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) - since such decisions increase the demand for military products and raise the expected profits in the European defense industry. Our findings lend empirical support to the view that financial markets indeed evaluate the substance of European Council meetings and only react to those summit decisions which consolidated EU military capabilities and the ESDP. Each of these substantial Council decisions increased the value of the European defense sector by about 4 billion Euros on average. This shows that multilateral decisions can have considerable economic and financial repercussions.
Keywords: European Union, International Institutions, Stock Markets, Defense Sector, European Security and Defense Policy
JEL Classification: P16, N20, G18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Bechtel, Michael M. and Schneider, Gerald, Eliciting Substance from 'Hot Air': Financial Market Responses to EU Summit Decisions on European Defense (February 16, 2009). International Organization, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 199-223, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1344648