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The Political Economy of European Integration - Essay Example

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The Political Economy of European Integration

To start with, we must define the objective that has spurred the nature of economic integration. The primary objective of having or creating a (regional) economic integration is for the said union to form an agreement among its member countries to reduce and remove tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to the free flow of goods, services, and factors of production (i.e. labor, capital and entrepreneur); and also, to attempt to achieve economic gains from the free flow of trade and investment between its neighboring countries.
The EU as an organization is comprised of independent European countries whose sole, main objectives are economic and social progress for the European region and its people. That is why they have long-planned on engineering an economic integration program in an attempt to converge all the European regions in order to meet and implement the objectives of the formed union so as to provide a much better living and working environment for its people - the Europeans (Going for Growth, 2003).
Economic integration for Europe has definitely brought convergence to this continental region. Since its foundation, the EU had gone through three legal stages for it to achieve its economic objectives, these stages were: the creation of the customs union, 1958-1985, the single market 1985-1992, and the economic and monetary union 1992-present (Hitiris, 2003).

Initially, as a customs union, it removed different barriers in trading between member countries of the EC and adopted a common external trade policy in which individual state governments no longer has to determine or make their own external trade policy anymore. Then the Single European Act or the single market implemented in 1987 allowed factors of production particularly labour, capital, and entrepreneurs to move freely from one member country to another. And after a few years, the EU started to launch its full economic objectives by implementing the economic and monetary union policy to its region; through this, it paved the way to the removal of the remaining obstacle to cross border investments. And also, one of the most highlighted criterions made in this final treaty was granting the citizenship of the union - everyone with a nationality of any member country becomes an automatic citizen of the union, giving its people all the rights to move and reside freely among the union's member countries. With all of these mentioned and guided by the democratic principles of the union, the EU has definitely succeeded in converging its member countries into becoming a prosperous European economic region of the twenty-first century that is continuously grow year by year in terms of economic figures and admitting more and more European countries into the union; and currently, is even ranking second in the growth of world economies next to the United States and preceding Japan.

However, it is also important to take stock of the fact that the success or failure of an economic integration depends primarily on its objectives. Therefore, a previously independent country participating in an economic union - converging its economy to other member countries by sacrificing a part of its national sovereignty can only be justified if the union is able to achieve its ...Show more


The Economic integration of the European Union has been a long drawn process that has been witness to various changes and the emergence of trends. These include an explosion in the mobilization of sub national actors in Brussels as well as an attempt on the part of intergovernmentalists to devise a rational choice explanation for the materialization of a "third level" in EU politics…
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