New developments in the European market

Date of publication: June 15, 1990


Economic integration is a worldwide phenomenon produced by the development of transport and communication technology. Economic interdependency of countries and continents has never been greater than today. Economic integration in Europe has been underway for a long time, and is accelerating as a result of the political will to undo artificial barriers. Whatever our own personal perception of the present may be, it is truly astounding what has been accomplished in the last twenty-five years. Present economic integration is accelerating due to the 1992 programme which will remove the last barriers towards a fully integrated common market. What does "common market" mean? To many people it seems to mean uniformity within the European space. Obviously within Europe, absence of barriers does not imply similarity. A common or European market simply means that the administrative barriers will have been reduced to the point where the free flow of capital, goods and people will not be interfered with significantly. Countries and governments will continue to exist as highlighted by the discussions around the European Monetary System and the future European political organization. Local legislative differences will continue to exist as well as differences in languages, habits, value systems, tastes as well as discrepancies in the standard of living. Specialization of countries and regions will probably grow - but one should be realistic. Even today in the United States, the federal structure has not done away with a number of administrative distortions between the states. Economic integration, however, is proceeding. Multilingual packaging is frequently used and common brand names and products create a feeling of similarity throughout important parts of Europe. What is the issue? After all, many companies have been operating across Europe or have had a presence in several European countries for some time now. In many cases the European market was seen as the juxtaposition of a number of markets (in reality countries) due to the political organization of the continent. Europe was seen not as one marketing space but as a number of spaces in which the company had a presence.

Jacques E. Andriessens


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