What happened to the Common Market?

In the early days of the European Union it was always referred to as the Common Market. The understanding was that the European Countries would enter into a trading agreement amongst themselves, import duties between the participating countries would be abolished so as to become a free trade zone and hopefully the larger market would benefit all those who joined in.

Since these early beginnings the Union has grown into a cumbersome and expensive bureaucracy that appears to have lost sight of its original goal. In addition many of the directives coming from the European Parliament have not always been well received by member nations especially as they have usually had little to do with trade and as a result the whole concept has become quite unpopular. So it is with some interest that a number of prominent business leaders from Britain, Germany and Sweden have added their names to a letter published in the Sunday Times on 10th November calling for an overhaul of the European Union and to make it more trade focused.

The EU share of world trade has fallen by a quarter over the past decade. Priority must be given to making sure that Europe is a major player in the new emerging world markets. Positive signs of a move in this direction will revitalise the EU and will ensure that Britain not only remains in the partnership but becomes a major player.

There is some evidence that Britain’s strategy to deal with the recession has proved somewhat more successful than that of Europe as a whole. Hopefully this will help to improve our relationship with Europe, although I do accept that not being part of the Euro has helped. Again it could be said that our concerns about the original concept of a common European Currency have been endorsed.

Is now the right time for Britain to support this letter from these leading business leaders and push for a more trade focused Europe as originally conceived?

What is your opinion?