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European Union, how successful was it at creating a single market - Essay Example

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Success of the European Union in Creating a Single Market 1.0. Background and Fundamentals In assessing the success of the European Union in creating a single market, it is useful to understand the basics in economic integration. According to Dominick Salvatore, the fundamental forms of economic integration at the international level are preferential trade arrangements, free trade area, customs union, common market, and economic union (327)…
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Download file to see previous pages A free trade area is a form of economic integration wherein all barriers to trade, not only tariffs, are removed among participating nations although each nation maintains its trade barriers with other nations who are not members of the free trade area (Salvatore, 327). This was the situation in 1960 in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) organised by the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland (Salvatore, 328). A customs union provides no tariffs or other barriers to trade among member nations of the customs union and, in addition, the custom union harmonises trade policies with the rest of the world (Salvatore, 328). According to Salvatore, this was the status in 1957 of West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (328). A common market goes further than a customs union by “also allowing the free movement of labour and capital among member nations” (Salvatore, 328). According to Salvatore, much of Europe became a common market in 1993 (328). Finally, an economic union is a significant advancement from a common market because in addition to the free flow of labour and capital among the members of the union, the economic union unifies the fiscal and monetary policies of member nations of the economic union (Salvatore, 328). Fiscal integration in the European Union is not immediately apparent. However, one good evidence of monetary integration is the launching of the euro as “the common currency of more than 300 million Europeans on 1 January 1999” (Europa, “The history of the European Union”).1 A study of Kocenda and colleagues in 2008 indicated that the monetary union within the European Union did not “encourage fiscal convergence among its members” (1). Thus, viewed from the perspective of advancement from a preferential trade arrangement and growing into a free trade area, then into a customs union, then into a common market, and finally into an economic union, the formation of the European Union itself can be credited as a solid achievement in the creation of a single market. However, it is also possible to see the European Union as an act of protectionism of member countries of Europe against the rest of the world. In this sense, one can also view the formation of the European Union as a possible obstacle to the creation of a single market worldwide: a group of nations operating as a bloc or club within the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 2.0. Mission of the European Union The European Union, however, is more than an economic union. It is a political union as well among countries sharing a common vision and objectives. Europa, the official website of the European U ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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