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  Part V: EU Sectoral Policies

  1. EU Industrial and enterprise policies
  2. EU research and technology policies
  3. EU energy policy
  4. EU transport policy
  5. EU agricultural policy
  6. EU fisheries policy

In Part V we consider the sectoral policies of the European Union, that is to say, the policies concerning big sectors of the economies of the Member States, industry, research, energy, transports, agriculture and fisheries. We will see that in the last three sectors the European Treaties required explicitly the development of common policies, whereas for industry they asked for no policy as such, but the whole multinational integration process was geared towards the restructuring and competitiveness of European industry. Common research and energy policies were partially defined in the sectoral Treaties, notably that on Euratom. The various legal foundations of the main sectoral policies certainly account for their dissimilar development; but so do as well the different requirements that the Member States set for those policies during the stages of the customs union [see chapter 5], the common market [see chapter 6] and more recently the economic and monetary union [see chapter 7].

Whilst, the EEC Treaty made no call for a common or Community industrial policy, it chiefly regulated the common market in industrial products (free trade, rules of competition, approximation of laws, tax provisions...). It assumed that the abolition of protectionist measures and the opening-up of the markets, thanks to the common market would provide sufficient impetus for the restructuring of sectors and undertakings. We saw that this assumption was partly invalidated because of national protectionism, which persisted until the early 1990s by means of technical barriers to trade [see section 6.1]. Now that the single market has become a reality, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must adjust to the new conditions of heightened competition. The new enterprise policy of the Union shores up their efforts. The common enterprise policy, however, aims to help SMEs in both the industrial and service sectors adjust to the new conditions of the large internal market. This is also the goal of common sub-sectoral policies, notably in declining or fast growing industrial sectors, which need to be freed from old protectionist practices so as to better face the new conditions of competition in Europe and the world.

A common research policy is also a vital rung on the ladder of the European Union's industrial development. It is essential for the definition of industrial strategy, for technical progress in high-technology sectors, for the mastery of the Union's energy problems and, finally, for the adaptation of businesses to the post-industrial information society.

Research is a key feature of the common energy policy, the aim of which is to reduce Europe's dependence on imported energy and raise the competitiveness of European industry through the development of cheap, safe and clean energies. Due to its foundation on the ECSC and Euratom sectoral Treaties [see section 2.1], the common policy is well advanced in the sectors of coal and nuclear energy and very little in the oil and gas sectors.

Unlike most other common policies, transport policy was specifically mentioned in the EEC Treaty, even with the specification that it should be a common policy. We will note that diverging national interests have impeded progress of the transport policy during the first thirty years of the Community's existence; but the completion of the single market, which has resulted in strong growth in demand for transport services for both goods and persons, went in step with a large-scale liberalisation in the areas of road haulage, sea and air transport.

By contrast, the common agricultural policy (CAP) covered a great deal of ground during the first years of the Community. However, of all the policies examined in this book, the CAP has been the most controversial and the most versatile, since it is reformed every five years or so to respond both to internal and external requirements. The CAP presents, indeed, a good example of the constant adaptation of a common policy to new societal needs and to the changing European and international competition and trade requirements.

The fisheries policy, initially a part of the common agricultural policy, gives a good illustration of how a common policy can develop. It starts out with a few isolated measures addressing a particular situation or shared problems in a sector and, little by little there is a realisation that if the common achievements are to be safeguarded, other measures are required leading to a full-grown common policy. Thanks to this policy and despite the growing depletion of fishing resources in the waters of the Union and worldwide, there is a single market for fisheries products.

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Your roadmap in the maze of the European Union.

Based on the book of Nicholas Moussis:
Access to European Union law, economics, policies
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Translated into 14 languages


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