Barriers to the 'New Europe'
The establishment of the trade union among European countries was aimed at increasing economic growth among trading partners. With the formation of the trade union across Europe, consumers and producers had great expectations of increased sales and product diversification which would give the consumers a range of alternatives to choose from. Through custom and monetary union, European member states would reap a bulk of benefits through a comparative advantage and abolition of trade barriers (Bieler 57). This would increase the competitiveness, thus enhance the quality and quantity of the outputs in the trading institutions. The ‘new Europe’ (a product of European economic integration) was expected to produce standardized products, resource mobility, use of common currency, and increased competition.
However, even after the formation of this trading block (popularly referred to as a ‘new Europe’), the totally different situation is observed by the variations in the quality of the consumed products, non-standard commodities, and immobility of production across the Europe. This implies that the ‘new Europe’ cannot be effective in delivering its objectives. Like other economic and trade unions, the ‘new Europe’ has battled with a number of challenges. These challenges are viewed from economic, political and to socio-cultural perspective. Rigidity and lack of financial liberalization tops the list (Leisink 87). It is found that European countries practice different trade policies and even with elimination of these trade barriers, some countries (especially the developing countries within Europe) attempt to practice ‘hidden trade barriers’ in order to protect their infant industries from external competition.
Although consumers now have a range of products to choose from, product standardization has not been realized (Moravcsik 55). The problem is that European countries have many differences in standardization policies so as to match the changing needs of the consumers. Besides, socio-cultural differences across union hinder product standardization as producers are forced to practice product differentiation in order to meet the demands of the consumers in each country. Finally, economic variations and partisanship are the major challenges to economic integration in Europe. European countries practice economic and financial policies which are adequate in addressing their varied economic environments (Moravcsik 45-47). Similarly, politics is a fact behind the failure of the ‘new Europe’ as this economic union favors economically stable countries which often enact policies in their favor.