Rethinking the role of the EU


Sir, – Martin Wolf made important points in his article about rethinking free market economics into the future (“Free market economics – time for a fundamental rethink”, Business Opinion, May 25th).

As he said himself, the most important part will be “rethinking the role of states, acting individually and together”.

This is especially the case in this part of the world in relation to that advanced example of states acting together, the EU.

Much of the debate on the EU is negative and fails to recognise the fact that it is the most advanced example of international co-operation in the world.

So far it is just an effort by most of the democracies in Europe to co-operate in matters of mutual interest. Decisions are made by the democratically elected members of governments meeting together. Yet critics call it a federation or even an empire.

The EU is also blamed for damage being done to member countries by EU policies. That ignores the fact that all have equal access to a home market of 500 million people.

A small number of EU countries did have a bailout. But that was caused by the most powerful citizens in those countries making reckless decisions. That did not happen in most countries of the EU, which had the same EU common policies.

Since EU entry, for example, this country has gained a net €43 billion from common EU policies. In addition the former iron curtain countries of eastern Europe are gaining from common policies since joining the EU. This is helping those countries as well as ourselves to better cope with the free market.

The EU is also blamed for the immigrant issue. That ignores the fact that if the EU did not exist the pressure from the movement of large numbers of people from poorer and troubled parts of the world would have to be dealt with by individual countries on their own.

The EU is not perfect but it is an advanced effort at international co-operation in a continent which imperial and totalitarian regimes forcefully divided for centuries.

As an effort in rethinking free market economics into the future, it should be supported. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.