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“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”     Patrick Henry

February 20, 2007

Just Say No To the E.U.

by Doug Mataconis

Appparently, the European Union wants the rest of the world to adopt their rules:

Brussels wants the rest of the world to adopt the European Union’s regulations, the European Commission will say this week.

A Commission policy paper that examines the future of the Union’s single market says European single market rules have inspired global standard-setting in areas such as product safety, the environment, securities and corporate governance.

“Increasingly the world is looking to Europe and adopts the standards that are set here,” the paper, seen by the Financial Times, says.

The paper calls on the EU to encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit – for example by “promoting European standards internationally through international organisation and bilateral agreements”.

This would not be good news for people who believe in free markets, because the E.U. is hardly what one could call a free market economy:

The two sides have very different regulatory philosophies, with the EU placing a heavy emphasis on consumer protection and environmental legislation while the US tends to promote a more market-based approach. Some critics of the European approach argue that the Union’s stance on issues such as GM foods may also reflect a desire to protect the region’s commercial interests.

In other words, the same “democratic” socialism that has been a hallmark of European economies for decades. Asking the rest of the world to adopt these policies is essentially asking them to join France and Germany in the land of permanent double-digit unemployment.

H/T: Cato@Liberty

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  1. Why France and Germany as examples? Why not the UK, or Ireland, or any of the fast-growing eastern European countries? Could it be that those two happen to suit your views?

    As to protectionism – US steel tariffs? US farm tariffs?

    Not that I’m such a fan of the EU – but I’m a fan of facing reality…

    Comment by John — February 20, 2007 @ 10:35 pm
  2. Actually, I would point out that the Germans are really starting to do a lot better than they did in the 1990′s. Of course, the reason they’re doing better is that they’ve reformed their economy to be a more market-based capitalist system, rather than a centrally-planned system, but they’re doing better nonetheless. Not so for the French.

    Oh, and John, one of the reasons that Ireland, eastern Europe, etc aren’t used as examples is that they’re not anywhere near as socialist as France and Germany. In fact, the “Old Europe” countries are the ones trying to force Switzerland to raise their taxes because they’re “too competitive”. Ireland and eastern Europe are growing quickly by being free, France and Germany are growing slowly because they’re dominated by government. And France and Germany, who are fairly powerful within the EU, would like to abolish those free policies in the rest of Europe (and elsewhere).

    Oh, and I don’t think you’ll hear any authors at this site defending the steel tariffs or farm subsidies. The US isn’t without its warts.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — February 20, 2007 @ 11:20 pm
  3. It must be strange for you libertarians that the Nordic countries — that bastion of welfare capitalism (or “‘democratic’ socialism” as you perversely call it) — are actually outdoing the EU with respect to employment and productivity. This new report (.pdf) by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry looks at data for all Nordic countries. Norway btw, has had 4% growth over several years and unemployment below 3%.

    Comment by Giles — February 21, 2007 @ 12:13 am

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