Fiona Wishlade

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Personal Statement

Fiona Wishlade is a Professor in and a Director of the European Policies Research Centre. She works in four main areas: the regional policies of European countries; State aid, subsidies and competition policy; EU Cohesion policy and the budget; and financial instruments in economic development policy.

Fiona Wishlade plays a leading role in EPRC's longstanding comparative study of regional development policies in Europe (EoRPA). EoRPA is funded by a consortium of ten national ministries and agencies responsible for regional development. EPRC produces a number of reports which are presented at the annual meeting of the EoRPA partners, as well as policy briefings in the course of the year. For EoRPA, Fiona leads the work on competition policy control of regional policy and Cohesion policy budget eligibility and allocations, which are annual outputs of the EoRPA programme. She is also responsible for the country work on Norway, where she presents the results annually. She is also involved in advising other governments within the consortium on aspects of EU competition policy and State aid control and on the EU budget negotiations and outcomes; she regularly responds to ad hoc requests or produces policy briefings and presents on these topics in the partner countries.

Flowing from the EoRPA work and her LLM dissertation on the EU and (then) GATT (now WTO) rules on subsidies, Fiona Wishlade initiated EPRC research on State aids and competition policy. She produces an annual report on the impact of the State aid rules on the regional policies of the Member States and has written a monograph on this subject (published by Kluwer Law International). She was also appointed Arbitrator under Article 8.5 of the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Code of the WTO (until expiry of provisions), having been nominated by the European Commission (DG External Trade). In addition, her work in this area has involved studies for the European Commission on the development of methodologies for assessing the competition impacts of regional aids (DG Competition and DG Economy and Finance), research on the impact of the State aid rules on countries joining the EU for a consortium of EFTA governments, a study on the relationship between tax and social security systems and the State aid rules for the Norwegian government, a comparative review of State aid notification systems and work on monitoring and compliance of State aids in Poland, the Slovak and Czech Republics, an assessment of the international competitiveness of the Madeira tax regime for the Madeira regional development agency, and the drafting of State aid rules for the Baltic Sea Region in the context of the European Territorial Cooperation programme. She was an invited speaker at the Commission’s (DG Competition) policymaker workshop to launch the review of the regional State aid rules for 2014-20. She has also advised a number of governments on the impact of changes to EU State aid rules for domestic policies. These include: Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom (BIS and Scottish Government). She frequently presents on the subject of regional development policies and State aid control in both academic and practitioner fora.

Beyond State aid control policy, she has worked extensively on EU Cohesion policy. In particular, she has led studies for the European Commission on the contribution of Member States policies to cohesion, feeding into the First and Fifth Reports on Economic and Social Cohesion, which the Commission has a Treaty obligation to provide. She has also undertaken extensive modelling work on the structure and evolution of the EU budget, and research into the reform of EU Cohesion policy on behalf of a number of European governments. This has included: extensive work on the role of GDP (and possible alternatives) in determining eligibility for Cohesion policy and budget allocations for the Portuguese government (in the 1990s): real-time modelling of the 2000-2006 EU budget negotiations and their implications (for the Greek government); real-time modelling of the 2007-2013 EU budget negotiations and their implications (for the Greek and Cyprus governments); research and advisory support for the 2014-20 EU budget negotiations for the Cyprus government during their presidency of the EU, and real-time simulations and scenarios for the EoRPA partner governments.

With EPRC colleague Rona Michie, Fiona has initiated and developed a new research stream in the use of financial instruments in economic development policy. This developed work done for the EoRPA and IQ-Net consortia and in a major study for the European Investment Bank. The University’s KEDF enabled EPRC to build a UK-based network of policymakers (Financial Instruments Network – FINE), which meets twice a year, and for which EPRC provides policy briefings and secretariat. This initiative has helped spawn a number of successful bids for research funding, including three studies for the European Parliament, a programme of involvement in the joint EIB/Commission technical support platform fi-compass, the ex-post evaluation of financial instruments in 2007-13 for the European Commission, a major study on the uptake and effectiveness of financial instruments in 2014-20, also for the European Commission, a contribution to the work of the OECD in this field, and a Europe-wide study on the relationship between financial instruments and territorial cohesion for ESPON. This is a new area of academic and policy research which has led to a number of (mainly invited) presentations at events such as Scotland Europa, the European Structural and Investment Fund annual conferences, the FIN-EN final conference at the Committee of the Regions, the RSA/European Commission Joint Policy Conference in Riga, and the RSA annual conference in Piacenza and the OECD, as well as formal study presentations at the European Parliament and the European Commission. 

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Fiona Wishlade

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