Wednesday, March 1, 2006
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
The European Commission's tough test
The European Commission has lost a lot of big battles over the past few years -- the growth and stability pact and the constitutional referendum, to name two. One could easily debate the virtues of either proposal, but the key political science fact is that the Commission was unable to get its way.
Tobias Buck reports in the Financial Times that the next big test is coming -- preventing a beggar-thy-neighbor policy on mergers and acquisitions:
Just over four months ago, Charlie McCreevy raised eyebrows when he warned of a “strong wind of protectionism” blowing through the European Union.The report suggests that the Commission is fighting against some awfully powerful structural forces:
[S]ome point to a more sinister reason for the rise in hostility towards foreign suitors. “One factor is clearly the current economic malaise gripping Europe. In times when the macroeconomic conditions are less favourable, protection is always on the rise,” said Jean-Pierre Casey, research fellow and financial policy expert at the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies.Developing.... posted by Dan on 03.01.06 at 06:06 PM
Back to the 1970s, but without a Thatcher or a Reagan equivalent in sight: stagnation, protectionism, malaise, racial hatred, terror.
Buckle yer seatbelts, folks; it's going to be a rough ride through the rest of the decade for the Continent. Which is very bad news for us as well... good thing our elites are finally getting serious about an alliance with India for this Asian Century.posted by: thibaud on 03.01.06 at 06:06 PM [permalink]
I'm not sure that it's so easy to blame enlargement for some of these issues. It's true that France may have less homogeneity with Poland, but they're protecting against Italians. Surely the fellows just over the border aren't too culturally alien.posted by: James of England on 03.01.06 at 06:06 PM [permalink]
The IH Tribune also has an article about this, claiming that the nation-state appears to be back. In this article another researcher of the same center says that the apparent rise in nationalism is not a serious threat to the EU's single market, but rather a symptom of how much the single market has already broken down borders in certain sectors. That progress, he said, has made Europe's economies ripe for cross-border mergers. He claims that political resistance to this is both inevitable and temporary.
I tend to agree with this. The mergers are all about industries that have always been public. It's not so strange that they start to panic a bit when such companies are taken over by foreign companies. Even if they are European. You see similar panic in cases where it involves national airline companies or national car industries. Even the French, Germans and Spanish will eventually see that this is inevitable. Just takes a bit longer...posted by: Eric on 03.01.06 at 06:06 PM [permalink]
Post a Comment: