The Economic Limits of European Integration

  • John Corcoran


The abolition of internal tariffs in the early years of the European Economic Community failed to remove all the non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade, and consequently a single integrated market failed to emerge. After many years of making no further progress with the single market as an issue, it was revived as part of the EU’s policy agenda in 1985. The Milan European Council resulted in the drawing up of the White Paper Completing the Internal Market, setting the target date of 31 December 1992. The single market campaign saw the EU return ostensibly to its essentially economic foundations as set out in the Treaty of Rome. This was strengthened by the Single European Act, and most recently by the Treaty on European Union in which a clause calls for:

the elimination … of customs duties and quantitative restrictions on the import and export of goods and all other measures having equivalent effect … [and] an internal market characterised by the abolition of obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. (Treaty on European Union, article 3)

Yet it is clear that the 1992 project for the removal of NTBs and the creation of a single market also served the clear political purpose of advancing the aim of European unification.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Corcoran

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