The prospect of euro egoism. European Union on the way towards protectionism
The objective of this report is to present the most important common market changes in the aftermath of the crises that hit the EU after 2008. As a result of various economic and social problems, there has been a reluctance of European societies towards liberal solutions. This notion is apparent in EU internal market and globally.
Furthermore, an increasing number of leading politicians, both in member states and within EU institutions, have ceased to support the previous direction of liberalization in the common market which consisted of extending the four treaty freedoms (i.e. movement of persons, goods, services and capital in this market) and removing protectionist barriers in each individual country. Although the European Commission (EC) has long been advocating a liberal approach, it has changed its strategy, under the influence of some national governments.
Instead of basing EU regulations on the maximum extension of the four treaty freedoms, protectionist solutions preferred by some member states are being introduced. In turn, this changes the rules of competitiveness to the detriment of other EU countries. Another feature of the change is the gradual closure of the EU to external rivals, as well as the introduction of arbitrary, individualized and politicized management of the scope of their access to investment and economic activity in the common market. This provides an immediate advantage for EU institutions and the largest member states in their relations with non-European partners (or adversaries), however, in the long term, unfavourable for building stable economic exchanges based on clear rules of cooperation with the outside world.
There is also the risk of a „vicious circle” mechanism between increasingly sceptical social sentiments towards the liberal principles of European integration and globalization and similar external phenomena. This may contribute to the strengthening of protectionist tendencies globally.