Has the creation of the Single European Market been a success?

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Has the creation of the Single European Market been a success?

The Single Market was contemplated in the Rome Treaty. It consisted of an eight-year programme to be completed between 1985 and 1992 and one of the main objectives was to eliminate barriers that existed to trade in the then European Community. Its completion was considered to be one of the most ambitious targets and one of the most enduring successes.

The Single European Act provided the legal framework that made the attainment of the target of a Single European Market by 1992 a realist possibility, through a process of harmonisation for existing legislation. The mobility of capital, labour and goods and services became reality in simultaneous with the establishment of a new European trading block in which competition between countries and companies  has increased. The key objectives  of the Community are in  the Rome Treaty.

In this essay I will analyse whether or not the Single European Market has been a success, defining success as ‘a favourable accomplishment’.

The original plans for a Common Market as known in the Treaty of Rome, which emphasized the creation of a Common Market and Customs Union between the member states, meant the removal of tariffs and other obstacles to trade between the original Six and, as expressed through the Common External Tariff (CET), the adoption of a Common Trade Policy towards non-members. Factors such high unemployment, business operations generating unlevelled growth, among other, were understood to overcome the serious economic problems facing the EC institutions and the private sector needed to address problems created by the internal market.

There was realisation that major institutional change was necessary with the main purpose the elimination of the still existent barriers, extending the EC’s competence and laying the foundation for the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), therefore a legislative programme was proposed in the White Paper, which sought to identify the areas within EC where the problems existed and deal with them through a new approach known as mutual recognition and equivalence.

According to Archer C. in The  EU, p. 71, the widely circulated Cecchini Report showed that to maintain the barriers to the freedom of movement of goods, services, labour and capital in the EC would cost more than the liberalization of these restrictions  that would bring a 4.5 per cent benefit to the EC’s Gross Domestic Product. Still according to Archer C. even the British Prime Minister, the euro sceptic Margaret Thatcher  saw the Single European  Market  in positive terms, and the SEM was “intended to give  real  substance to the Treaty of Rome and to revive  its liberal, free trade, deregulatory purpose”.

The White Paper that was drafted by the British Commissioner, Lord  Cockfield who had previously been a minister in Mrs Thatcher’s government, during Jacques Delors presidency,  advanced 300 measures of which only 205 have been rectified. The aim was to remove physical barriers understood by customs controls at the borders between member states. The costs were those of delays in journey times leading to extra transport costs as well as the extra administrative burden – the ‘red tape’ and the question of regulation of transport which ultimately lead to the deregulation of road haulage and air transport  with directives from 1987 to 1992 was brought up by the reduction of the physical barriers.

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The technical barriers were removed by harmonization of technical standards, the liberalization of public procurement and service provision, the  resolution  of conflicts in business laws and practices together with the removal of impediments to the free movement of labour was another step. It cemented the way for the signature of the Schengen Agreement in which the elimination of all border formalities by all member states with the exception of Britain, Denmark and Republic of Ireland, which opted out citing security reasons. The Amsterdam Treaty incorporated the Schengen Agreement.

The Fiscal barriers which translated into national differences in indirect ...

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This is a thorough descriptive essay which does a very good job of summarising evidence from various sectors. However, a really outstanding essay would offer a bit more by way of analysis. Which sectors were more of a success and why? Who were they a success for? Why have results been disappointing to some? The factual information here is very well presented, but it could do with a bit more argument.