Policy Briefs

R. Perissich: How the political drive behind the Single Market can address Europe’s new challenges

The current debate on the difficulty that the EU is having in adapting its economy to the new global challenges inevitably touches the need to strengthen the Single European Market (SEM). Even more than the euro, the SEM is considered to be the heart of the EU. To a certain extent it is possible for an EU member not to be part of the euro, but it would be unthinkable of it not to be an integral part of the SEM. A serious SEM crisis would immediately translate into an existential problem for the EU. In this perspective it is useful to reconsider the factors that made Delors’ White Paper, implemented between 1985 and 1992, a success and see how it can benefit the present situation. Many extensive and accurate analyses of that enterprise have been carried out; they concern its legal basis, its economic philosophy and its economic impact. This paper will not attempt to explore that domain again. It will, however, focus on the factors that determined both its success and its shortcomings. Subsequently, it will try and draw some guidelines for the future.  

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