Phedon Nicolaides, 31 March 2014
The Bruges European Business Conference was successfully organised for the 5th consecutive year by the Economics Department on Thursday, 27 March. Prominent speakers were former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation Bernadette Segol, Deloitte’s Global Managing Director Roger Dassen and many other business leaders, senior public officials and academics [the programme of the conference and a complete list of speakers can be found on the College of Europe conference website].
To put it crudely, the present British government opposes anything that smacks of, as was called at the conference, “political integration”. But, it is very hard to understand what is precisely meant by “political integration”. If it means the establishment of supranational authorities which have jurisdiction in the territory of each Member State, then for sure the EU’s internal market is deeply political. It is embedded in an institutional framework that empowers the Council and the European Parliament to adopt common rules, the European Commission to contest national measures and the Court of Justice to determine whether Member States apply internal market rules correctly. If anything, the EU experience has shown that successful economic integration and comprehensive removal of barriers to trade and investment must be supported by strong supranational institutions. Continue reading