Where's the EU going?

The news that the European Union's 50 year old commitment to "undistorted competition" is to be dropped from any revamped constitution (sorry, ‘treaty') had jaws dropping with audible thunks here MT Towers this morning.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

If the EU is not about free trade and the ready exchange of people, goods and information within its borders, then what exactly is it for? We already ‘know' thanks to the last constitution's humiliating rejection that full political union is not supposed to be on the cards, and now we learn that meaningful commercial freedom is to be abandoned too.

Leaving what, exactly? A vast, creaking, corrupt and scandalously expensive bureaucracy for the sole purpose of administering ‘state support' ie propping up flagging industries and organisations which are too flabby and inefficient to make it on their own merits.

Just to be clear on this, here at MT we are very far from being xenophobic Eurosceptics, as anyone who is familiar with our well-established lines on immigration or the global market for talent will appreciate. Indeed, being part of a properly functioning and efficiently regulated European marketplace probably offers the UK its best hope of remaining globally competitive.

But the current EU is very far from properly functioning or efficiently regulated, and now it seems that it's not even going to try to be competitive anymore. It seems to us that the gap between where the peoples of Europe would like to go and where their political leaders are taking them is growing insupportably wide.

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