Wednesday 26 January 2011

Herman Van Rompuy: ”The Internal Market is the EU's biggest asset”

In his closing speech at the Annual Brussels Think Tank Meeting ”Europe 3.0: Building a Viable Union” 25 January 2011, the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy @euHvR on Twitter, spoke at length about the economic challenges, particularly with regard to the eurozone. His assessment of challenges, difficulties, achievement and reasonable expectations are well worth reading (page 1-4), as are his remarks about the EU on the international scene (page 4-5). However, I am going to quote Van Rompuy on the internal market, which he called the biggest asset of the European Union (page 4):

I have spoken at length about the Euro, but let us not forget the EU’s other great achievement: the Internal Market. Safeguarding and developing it may be less spectacular, but it is an indispensable day to day work.

The Internal Market is the EU’s biggest asset. Firstly, it is a major source of growth and job creation. That’s why next week the European Council will discuss Innovation and the Energy Market. We will also ask the Commission to set clear priorities amongst the measures proposed in the, rightly ambitious, Single Market Act. Secondly, the Internal Market is the EU’s main leverage towards the outside world. Last year, it helped us to stimulate Russia on its path of modernisation. In the first semester of 2011, we will probably conclude an impressive trade deal with India, as we did some months ago with South Korea. Thirdly, the internal market ties our economies and societies closer together almost every day. This is no accident. It was the brilliant intuition of the European founders, like Jean Monnet. (As he famously said: “L’Europe ne se fera pas d’un coup, ni dans une construction d’ensemble, elle se fera par des réalisations concrètes créant d’abord une solidarité de fait.”)

In that sense, the Internal Market does exactly what the title of today’s event asks for: it makes the Union more viable almost every week. For instance, on 21 December 2010 – four days after the last European Council decided in the limelight on the text of a limited Treaty change to safeguard the Eurozone –, the Council and the European Parliament agreed on three dossiers: patients’ rights, CO2 emissions from light vehicles and falsified medicines.

None of these decisions was glamorous or médiatique. Nor are the roots of a great oak tree… Yet they are fundamental for the strength of the whole.

On the European Council website there is a short note on the items to be discussed at the next meeting, 4 February 2011 in Brussels.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Wherever there are troubles in the eurozone, you can expect A Fistful of Euros to be there with facts and opinion, as in the case of Ireland. One of the must read Euroblogs.

P.S. 2: You can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @RalfGrahn, in addition to my blogs: Grahnlaw (in English), Grahnblawg (in Swedish) and Eurooppaoikeus (in Finnish), as well as the trilingual Grahnlaw Suomi Finland.

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