European Union: Power and Policy-Making

By Jeremy Richardson | Go to book overview

The opening of the Iron Curtain, the GATT Uruguay Round and the Europe Agreements between the applicants and the EU (see below) already led to considerable advances in trade liberalisation. Joining the Customs Union will not alter much, since differences in external duties and tariffs will have been adapted by the time of accession. Recent economic studies came to the conclusion that the trade potential of East-West trade is already exhausted (Breuss 1999:11). It may however be that EU membership will have further trade creation effects (ibid.). In contrast to trade liberalisation, enlargement would presumably have considerable impact on the flow of foreign direct investment into the new members and of migrants into the old members. Furthermore, as discussed below (p. 266), participation of the CEECs in the structural policies will have a major economic impact for both groups of countries.
It is interesting to note that the same author, based on a comprehensive comparison of the existing model simulations, points at a number of shortcomings of these models, such as the non-incorporation of factor movements or the both theoretically and politically complex question of finding out which EU incumbent will be a winner and which one a loser (ibid.: 35).
In the wider context of recent developments, it is of interest to note a recent publication which argues that the role of economics in European integration (as opposed to political goals) has actually been much smaller from the start than is usually assumed (Kamppeter 2000).
This delay was due to the French veto of the British application in 1961, which brought all four membership applications to a temporary halt.
After a negative referendum, Norway did not become a member but stayed within the ‘nonsupranational’ European Free Trade Area (EFTA).
On the EFTA applications and negotiations, see Wallace 1991; Michalski and Wallace 1992; Luif 1994; Journal of Common Market Studies 3 1995.
This was mainly because the EC, contrary to initial expectations, did not give up its decision-making autonomy. This meant that only EC law, decided upon by the Union members exclusively, could (by unanimous decision) develop into EEA law. Furthermore, the judicial system initially agreed upon was declared incompatible with the Treaty of Rome by the EC Court of Justice, so that the proposed common EEA Court had to be dropped. In short, the final say on the interpretation of EC (and, as the two are normally identical, de facto also EEA) law lies with the EC court. The Union is thus clearly a somewhat hegemonic actor within the EEA. In economic terms, the EEA constitutes an improved free trade area (with exemptions such as agricultural goods), but no customs union (Schwok 1991).
On details of the Amsterdam reforms, see for example Dinan 1999; Griller et al. 2000; for explanatory approaches on this Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), see for example Christiansen and Jørgensen 1999; Moravcsik and Nicolaïdis 1999; Pollack 1999; Sverdrup 1999.
For example visiting not only the Turkish government but also representatives of the social partners there, human rights organisations and Kurds (Europe, 11/3/2000); EUCommissioner Patten even visited the Yugoslav subrepublic Montenegro, which strives for greater independence from Milosevic in Belgrade (FTD, 3/3/2000).
The EU supports democratisation and economic reforms not only in the pre-accession countries (see below), but even in places such as Russia (the TACIS programme was even refocused on democratic objectives in early 2000, Europe, 26/1/2000) and Montenegro (by 65 million euro 1998-2000, Europe, 11/3/2000). Another example of promoting compatible political and societal structures is the Action Plan to promote social and civil dialogue in south eastern Europe’, elaborated by the European Training Foundation, within the framework of preparing the region for accession (600,000 euro for one year; Europe, 25 and 27/1/2000).
The co-operation agreements signed with Russia and the Ukraine in June 1994 do not—in contrast to the Europe agreements with the candidate states—contain any provisions mentioning possible future membership.
The working assumption used by the Commission in its proposals was that six new members would join the Union in 2002.


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