chapter  1
38 Pages

Economics and politics in the decision to join the European Union

The most successful aspect of post-war Europe’s integration, the one that gives it genuine power and leverage in the world, which by its commercial power and attraction binds to the European Union (EU) most of the European states which are not members of it, is the common market. Excluding the value of the cross-border trade within the common market from the calculation, that is to say by assuming the EU to be one nation for trading purposes, it accounted in 2001 for 19.5 per cent of the total value of the world’s exports and for 19.0 per cent of the world’s imports. Were it one nation, it would be the world’s greatest exporter. On the same basis the USA accounted in the same year for 15.7 per cent of world exports and 23.7 per cent of world imports.1