Sunday, May 01, 2005

One year of EU-enlargement

One year ago, the EU-enlargement came into effect. In a report, the EU-commission calls the EU-enlargement a success: http://europa.eu.int/enlargement/memo_en.htm

One should dare to question this.

Let me do it in three steps:

1. The undeniable benefits of enlargement, which are free trade and free movement of persons were already to a large extent available before enlargement. Poland, for example, had a 90% access to the European Market. Also the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, have free access to the European Market.

2. The benefits of enlargement in terms of more free trade between states were made undone by the fact that the new memberstates, who were already quite open to free trade, had to accept new barriers, to stop goods from non-EU-countries. Estonia, for example, had a 0%-tariff for foreign investment. The booming economy of Estonia was one of the first to introduce a flat tax, in 1994, and this country produced the blessfull product SKYPE. After EU-enlargement though, Estonia had to accept the fortress Europe protectionism.

3. It is sometimes said that the EU-enlargement is in fact a thing that could make it more difficult for the EU to impose new regulations. Moreover, it is sometimes said to have been the strategy of the British to enlarge in order to stop. Recently, Berlusconi, also in favour of the EU as being only a freemarket zone, declared he would like to have Russia in the Union.

When we look to the facts, this appears to be an unsuccesfull strategy. In the first place, because Europe isn't a fine democracy in which countries equally decide which strategy to follow. Big countries impose their will on small (for example, in the case of the stability pact, France and Germany didn't got reprimanded when they breached). An army of bureaucrats and lobbyists manage to set the political agenda, of course only regarding their own interest. Last but not least, there is the European Court of Justice, which is consistently making judgements that are moving the EU towards a single tax regime.


2 comments:

Erik Welin said...

Hi Pieter!

So this is your way into the politics... Well, good luck and let's see how it works out!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hello Pieter
this topic is very interesting,
keep going and come to visit Poland! :-)
Cheers
Emilia