The European Politics Blog

Blogging about politics and current affairs in Europe

The European Union is a symbol of positive economic growth, and has been so for many decades now. The two oil crises of the seventies had put on considerable pressure on the continent to devise an increase in growth, so post-1993 there has been more movement for Europeans, goods, services, payments and capital, and more free-flowing trade.

There has been a pulling back of tariff trade barriers, and removal of custom duties, spurning on surprising debate over it’s relevance in the United Kingdom. In the event, that the Conservatives are voted back to power in the 2015 General Elections, David Cameron has stated that he could possibly hold a referendum on the need to press ahead with UK membership of the EU, in the near future. If the UK left the EU, that would be a first for any country because in the EU’s history, the number of members have only increased, not contracted.

Initially, when the single market was conceived, it was really about it acting as a means to remove barriers faced whilst trading with other European countries, in areas as diverse as energy and transportation. However, as the years have gone by, the growth has stalled somewhat because where capital markets are concerned, for one, the market’s presence is still weak. Similarly, the recession has cut through Euro financial markets, and as more regulations are being introduced to make it harder for people to travel from one European country to another, you have to think of how this is impacting trade.

The debt levels for the single market, coherently is substantial, and the unemployment levels shows no signs of a good reduction. So, the only financial resources that have been poured in are coming from exports, as well as foreign direct investment. The single market offers numerous benefits, such as providing goods access to a wider market reach than before, a less competitive environment for foreign firms, allowing all Europeans to take part in the labour market, without any prejudice flung from localised workers, and a more liberalised approach to capital flows.

Workers from poor European economies, that have a good qualification level may find it easier to obtain employment in any strongly performing market, but this leaves workers from high-income countries, at a risk of unemployment. This comes at a time when the recession has only spelt trouble for countries and their people: almost every family has seen a downturn in their living standards. To help keep the relevance of the single market in the 21st Century, citizens need to be better looked after and provided for.

On a more positive note, the private sector responds positively to a fiscal union for Europe, because they see it as something that nurtures opportunities more than risks. This is quite alike to the consumer environment for the single market because shoppers are already profiting from the good range of products that are available for them to shop in the market, sometimes even at a cheaper market price.




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