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The members of the European Round Table

Audrey Pageaut

The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is a big business association gathering nowadays about 45 bosses of European industrial multinational firms. This selective club, which relies on individual committment and cooptation, is always presented as one of the most influential economic lobby at the European level by the medias and the litterature. But the focus on the question of its 'influence' does not permit to really understand the role and the position of the ERT, and broadly of the economic elites, in the European social and political space. In this way, it seems relevant to explore this group through its members themselves into the theoretical framework of the political sociology of elites. The prosopographical data collected about the current members of the Round Table combined with the study of the functionning of the ERT point out two main elements. The members don't possess the same resources and trajectories, and three profiles of bosses can be identified, which raises the question of the sense of such an alliance. Their participation in the ERT, inasmuch as it functions like a selective elitist club, continues national social elite strategies and permits them to convert national capitals into European capitals.

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