One thought on “Trade, commerce, Europe and Brexit: just what is the EU single market?

  1. Michael Harakis

    Any analysis of the single market should not be taken seriously, in my view, unless it sets out the features that make it what it is. I have set out some of them below. The author of the above article does not even attempt to do this. Whether he is equipped to or not, I do not know. He either does not understand the effect of non-tarrif barrisers or is intentionally ignornig them. In addition, the author makes grossly misleading assertions. Which business applies 100% of EU regulations? It is only 6% of companies that export to the EU, he says. That might be true, if you apply the percentage to the number of companies. That would be an absurd measure, however, because it equates Ford or Lloyds TSB with your local butcher. The passporting rights that the author claims are to be given to Australia and other countries are very limited sector, Alternative Investment Funds. If passporting were generally available outside the EU, then London should not fear Frankfurt and Paris post-Brexit; it should fear that the Asian banks that established in London for access to the EU might now prefer to operate from Australia.
    The single market is a creature of treaty and case law spanning over 50 years. It is the most sophisticated market system in the world by far. It has many unique qualities. Among others, it provides for direct rights of legal persons against states. It regulates state aid. It has the most developed system of regulating monopolies and market dominance. It is a system of law that requires proof of the necessity and proportionality of any state regulatory obstacle, however small, which directly or indirectly actually or potentially restricts free movement rights (goods, services, capital, establishment). The EU is able to negotiate trade and other deals on terms favourable to it, because it has the largest and most sophisticated single market in the world. It can also set regulatory requirements on global manufacturers and service providers as a single block in a way that no single country could. Your Chinese made, California designed i-phone is marked with a CE kitemark, which proves it applies EU safety regulations. You will probably find this on an i-phone sold in Russia, because it is unlikely Russia will have higher specific safety standards for mobile devices. Apple is not able to abuse its dominant market position in the EU or receive preferential tax treatment. It will also cost you less to use your i-phone, because the EU requires roaming charges to be limited on all mobile phone service providers.
    I accept that the article has the health warning “partisan”. I do not know what is meant by the suggestion that he “knows what he is about”. If he does, this would not be the first time he has been selective about showing it. Whatever may be the case, material like this is not something I expected to see in a blog containing the word “law”.

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