Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The EU is exaggerating in its attempt to show its achievements

euinside, January 11, 2010

The trainee at the Institute for Market Economy (IME) Alexander Ivelinov heavily criticizes in a paper the 10 most important achievements of the Eu for 2009: building the road to economic recovery; cheaper mobile telephone communications; attraction of resources to fight dementia; a new light on climate change; fight against hunger in poorest countries; protection of animals in oceans and land; care for the environment: from pesticides to oil; smooth online shopping; recovery of Europe after disasters.

According to Alexander Ivelinov, the effectiveness of some of the achievements could be put under serous doubt and others are just so insignificant. The measures to synchronize scientific achievements, directed to fight Alzheimer's really sound good. The new EU programme which unifies the industry and the academic society in the efforts to discovering and implementing new methods for diagnosis and cure of different forms of dementia helps removing the obstacles that slow down the transition from scientific discoveries to development of new medication.

On the other hand, the policy for protection of the environment shows one more time that Europe is one of the pillars in building the "green socialism". Excluding the directly interested participants in the "green" business", all other sectors are affected by this policy, Mr. Ivelinov writes. Even in times of an economic crisis the EU continues to require from them large investments in this direction - investments that have no return.

Doubts of its effectiveness rise the measures for economic recovery: stabilization of banks by the European government; the 5.5% of GDP of the Union, spent in support of the budgets of member states, directed to employment, infrastructure and energy efficiency; in 2009 some 16,000 workers in the automobile industry, the textile industry and the construction have received assistance of 60 mn euro; provision of loans for 15 bn euro to Romania, Hungary and Latvia.

Most of those measures are related to the basics of EU's policy for crisis exit - puring of large amounts of money for the recovery of the economy and little to none significant reforms. The EU is focusing on the fact that after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers it has done everything possible to save European banks from failures, sin spite of all arguments. The same goes for large companies outside the banking sector which is unprofitable. Instead of changing and adapting to the new conditions and if not - go off the competition, an economic subject receives assistance and continues to operate the same way. This approach is reflected in the overall anti-crisis policy - the economy to exit the crisis the same as it has entered it - without reforms, just by filling the gaps by pouring public money.

The trainee-economist also criticizes the achievement to reduce the prices for mobile services. Each European would be happy to pay less for his mobile communication but the chosen method to do this is far from the market principles. According to the new rules the price of roaming will fall 60%, the price of a text message from outside the EU will cost 11 euro cents which is 3 times less than the current price and the prices of conversations will be calculated per second and not minute as it is now. In the document it is proudly noted that all this has been achieved under the pressure of the EU - in other words through a direct interference in price formation of mobile operators, Alexander Ivelinov from the Institute for Market Economy concludes.

However, euinside would like to recall that a large part of the above mentioned achievements are the result of adjustment among the interests of EU member states, their citizens and large companies. Quite often the achievements in question are the result of hard lobbyism and none the less hard negotiations among member states. In such an environment it is very hard to assume who is responsible for the insignificant progress or whether an achievement is good or not. We still need to see whether the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty (on the 1st of December 2009) would fill in the expectations for more effectiveness in taking common European decisions.