Frihandel EU:s viktigaste uppgift

Just nu präglas EU av maktkamp och dragkamp om EU-pengarna. Det är helt fel fokus. Att utveckla den inre marknaden och öka handeln med omvärlden är det riktigt viktiga. 

Här en utomordentligt bra artikel från Forbes av Frantisek Markovic.

Den driver effektivt tesen av även för de fattigaste och minst utvecklade EU-länderna är handel, både inom EU och med omvärlden, den viktigaste faktorn för att öka välståndet.

”When it comes to the V4 countries in particular, since joining the EU in 2004, the value of their exports of goods to other EU states has increased by between 6.4% in Hungary and 10.7% in Poland (with the Czech Republic growing their intra-EU exports by 9.7% and Slovakia by 10.1%).

This matters because higher demand and trade lead to higher tax revenues, which fund public investment and services. But unlike the EU funds, these revenues are raised through healthy economic activity and as such they are conditioned upon the general quality of state, rule of law, business-friendliness and investment climate as well as on the level of tax. They are, to put it simply, earned through difficult decisions costing political capital.

On the other hand, the entitlement system of the EU funds is perceived as easy money. Worse still, these funds often have an inverse impact on the very conditions facilitating trade as described above. As we have witnessed in Central Europe on many occasions, the abundance of easily accessible funds from the EU sometimes leads to corruption and mismanagement. That should not come as a surprise; in principle, things that mascaraed as free often end up being more expensive.

The Single Market: Mission (Not Yet) Accomplished

That is not to say that the EU should resign on its ambition to bridge the gap between its poorer and richer regions. The EU arguably brings positive impact through its investment – especially in areas where national governments fail to deliver (e.g. cross-border projects and infrastructure). But it does mean that the EU should be smarter about where it puts the emphasis, effort, time and money.

It is undeniable that the real benefit of the EU membership has a lot less to do with the EU funds and a lot more with the EU’s Single Market. And while the Single Market has still a long way to go till perfection (with the EU Parliament estimating that the completing of the economic integration could bring additional €1.7 trillion to our economy), its positive impact on the EU’s prosperity is indisputable.

The EU is a great asset to the Member States and its main added value rests in the ability to lift all boats mainly (but not exclusively) through competition and free trade. More attention should, therefore, be paid to the completion of the Single Market, especially when it comes to free movement of services. The next legislative term should hence be understood as an opportunity to set the balance right. But whether the EU leaders will be capable (given the fragmentation of the European Parliament) or interested (given the necessary political capital needed) in taking up this challenge remains, however, to be seen.”