2002 November 23 Saturday
James C. Bennett On Excessive European Uniformity

In his Anglosphere column James C. Bennett argues that the desire of the EU leaders to make the European Union more uniform is robbing Europe of needed flexibility and adaptability.

Harmonized EU labor regulations means they will not be all that more attractive for manufacturing than Western Europe, so new job creation will be slow, while the Western Europeans will be free to sell their products on the newly-opened Eastern markets. Meanwhile, asymmetrical agricultural payments will burden Eastern European agriculture vis-a-vis Western European farmers.

The European fetish with uniformity, a trait the Germans share with particular enthusiasm, prevented a flexible and pragmatic approach to the problems of German unification. The coming extension of this fetish to the recovering economies of Eastern Europe cannot be justified by the excuse of political urgency as in the German reunification situation.

I think he puts his finger on the problem. The Brussels Mandarins and the ruling class in Europe seems to think that union requires homogenization even on subjects that do not need to be the same in all members of the EU. The biggest benefits of the EU are lower barriers to trade and labour movement across national borders. But the EU is making rules at the all-Europe level on subjects that should be handled at the national or even lower level. Bennett makes some suggestions (notably offers of a free trade agreement for any country that wants to stay outside of the EU) for what the US can do to do encourage more flexibility in Europe.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 23 11:04 PM  Europe and America


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