RIP free and undistorted competition

RIP free and undistorted competition in the proposed Revision Treaty for the EU?

The Neanderthals have won. For the first time since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, free and undistorted competition will no longer be among the guiding principles of the European Union.[1] This concession to the dark side was unnecessary and is unforgivable. If the EU is not about a single, free market with undistorted competition, then what is it about?

The proposed ‘Constitreaty’ represents a significant redistribution of voting power among Member States. There is also a material transfer of national sovereignty to Brussels involved in the following: granting the EU single legal personality; the creation of a full-time Council President; the creation of a single EU foreign minister – I believe the formal title is Lord High Executioner of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; the creation of a unified EU diplomatic service; and the extension of qualified majority voting in a large number of areas. There are further important constitutional changes such as the reduction in the number of Commissioners and the increased budgetary powers of the European Parliament.

Our leaders should not lie to us by insisting that this Treaty is just a minor tidying-up exercise. It is an amending Treaty only in the sense that death is an amendment to life. The British people must have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on this Constitution in Treaty’s clothing.



[1] From the Treaty of Rome (1957) to the Treaty of Nice (signed in 2001) the Treaties have contained, in the section on the Principles of the European Community, references to free movement of goods, persons, services and capital and undistorted competition. For instance the currently effective Consolidated Version of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, Part One –Principles, Article 3. 1 states: “For the purposes set out in Article 2, the activities of the Community shall include, as provided in this Treaty and in accordance with the timetable set out therein: … (c) an internal market characterised by the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital; … (g):a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted; “.

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Maverecon: Willem Buiter

Willem Buiter's blog ran until December 2009. This blog is no longer active but it remains open as an archive.

Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics and Political Science; former chief economist of the EBRD, former external member of the MPC; adviser to international organisations, governments, central banks and private financial institutions.

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