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The Internal Market and EMU: From Single Market to Economic Union

Jukka Snell

The paper claims that the internal market of the EU has undergone a series of metamorphoses in the course of European integration. The original common market, as envisaged in the Spaak Report and the EEC Treaty, was replaced by a single market model in the 1980s. Under the single market model, the European Court of Justice became a more important actor, and the substance of the law shifted towards a less centralized paradigm, with regulatory competition playing a more important role. Another such metamorphosis may be underway: the single market may be developing into an economic union, in which harmonisation of laws will be more dominant than regulatory competition. The causes for the metamorphosis are twofold. The first is that the single market model was never fully stable. It did not satisfy the key stakeholders. The second reason is the crisis in the Eurozone which has demonstrated both the close connections between the internal market and the EMU, and the bad fit between the single market model and the EMU. The paper will argue descriptively that the metamorphosis from single market to an economic union can be seen in various areas of EU law. It will argue normatively that this transformation is necessary to offer support for the EMU. However, it will note the emergence of new tensions, in particular given that the internal market encompasses 28 Member States, while only 18 participate in the EMU.

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