In The Press

Police the Single Market (Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal)

11 February 2009

Regarding Peter Sutherland's Feb. 10 op-ed, "Trade Obstacles Will Prolong the Economic Crisis":

In combating protectionism, the European Union has a key role to play. Under President José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission has shown a healthy appetite for confronting economic nationalism. It must continue to police the single market with care. First, it should seek to encourage banks to lend internationally. Second, it must make clear that, where state-aid rules have been put on hold, these are only transitory measures -- and normal service will resume when the economy recovers. Third, the EU must be wary of wage subsidies, which may already be taking place in some member states.

Encouragingly, the EU was at the forefront of lobbying efforts against the "Buy America" clause which the U.S. House of Representatives tried to include in the American stimulus bill. Brussels should continue to press for the completion of the Doha Round, which will inject confidence into the global economy and serve as a significant boost. In the 1990s an economic slump was alleviated by progress on the Uruguay Round. Let us hope that policy makers take their inspiration from recent history rather than the protectionism of the 1930s.

Roland Rudd
Business for New Europe

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