Economic and Political Issues for Governments and Firms
- New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Sidney Weintraub, Alan M. Rugman and Gavin Boyd
7. The European experience of economic integration Paul Brenton and Miriam Manchin It is now more than 50 years since countries in Europe embarked upon the road of fundamental economic integration. The European experience has subsequently been characterized by the deepening and widening of the policy mix applied at the European level, together with successive enlargements. At the end of the first quarter of 2002 12 EU countries removed their national currencies and fully adopted a common currency, the euro. Every day over 300 million Europeans now have a physical representation of the extent of European economic integration in their pockets and purses. Judged in terms of its longevity and the increasing depth of cross-country relationships, the European integration project has been a success and one which, together with increasing exploration of regional in conjunction with multilateral trade liberalization, has stimulated countries throughout the world to confront the possibilities for regional integration within their locality. Despite the overall success of the project, however, there are aspects of the integration exercise in Europe that, with the benefit of hindsight, have not been economically beneficial. These too should provide some important pointers to new integration schemes. It is in this context that this chapter provides a brief overview of the historical origins of the European integration process, the initial impacts of this process and some of the lessons that might be drawn from the European experience. Clearly, closer economic relations in Europe arose from a precise set of historical circumstances that will...
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