Policy evaluation 1: Single Market

The specification says the following about what you need to know on the Single Market

  • The Single Market: the extent to which this concept has been embraced by member states; the steps taken towards achieving a Single Market; the perceived benefits and drawbacks of the Single Market; the impact it has had on labour markets – including flexibility, mobility and competitiveness the extent to which the Single Market is perceived as a success. This should include concepts such as free trade areas, opt-outs, tariffs, harmonisation, social dumping, judicial activism, impact of globalisation

Definition: The Single Market is the free movement of goods, labour and capital across the EU countries. Exemplified by policies such as the Schengen convention. The Single European Act 1986 set the deadline of 1992 for the full completion of the Single Market.

1) Single Market is good because the free movement of people has made tourism easier and opened new employment and education opportunities across the EU with the number of ERASMUS students steadily increasing year on year . Widening the skills base for workers and allowing for multi-culturalism to take hold, now London has become France’s 6th biggest city as more French people live in London than Bordeaux. These benefits of course come with obvious draw backs including the fear that they will come and claim benefits and lower wages for UK workers. Labour said it would cap low skilled labour ahead of the Bulgaria and Romania ‘influx’ and the Conservatives said they will restrict access for benefits. Furthermore, the free movement of people is undermined by the opt outs Britain and Ireland secured for the Schengen convention and also by the lack of a European Social Model which means people may just move where the welfare is better, this can be seen as the cause of the ‘brain drain’ in Eastern Europe with Lithuania estimating that 3% of its population has left to the West.

2) The free market of goods has made companies more competitive as there are more options available to consumers business has to compete and lower costs but a consequence of this can be rising unemployment. The EU Single Market enabled in 2011 the limiting of the cost to make a phone call to another EU country to 32p per minute. Strengthening european business in the face of globalisation and emerging markets is vital and for EU businesses to have the advantage of the free market of goods gives them a better chance to be competitive against countries like China.

3) The single market is a form of integration that unifies the EU. It introduced a new waft of laws and consequently the Court of First Instance was introduced in the ECJ.It can be seen as another ‘loss of sovereignty’ by some countries as it is another extension of EU legislation. In this sense they have ensured the limitations of the Single Market by preventing any tax harmonisation as that would be seen as too much of a loss of sovereignty.