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Historically, the EU (or ECSC) could be said to have been little more than a body representing a trade agreement between six European countries. Over time, however, the EU has developed into a larger, more politicised organisation through the following steps:
- A free trade area
- The introduction of a customs union – Van Gend En Loos (1963)
- The deregulation of the common market (stop Member State interference)
- The re-regulation of the common market (harmonisation)
- An economic and monetary union (in part)
- EU citizenship
This development has led to a semi-constitutional system with more inter-state rules than exist between states in the USA. The 1980s provided a springboard for the EU to develop, courtesy of an economic depression. A report in 1985 entitled “Completing the internal market” suggested how to further develop the EU, with the removal of barriers to trade, minimum harmonisation recommendations, minimum health and safety recommendations, the introduction of mutual recognition and the introduction of qualified majority voting procedures.
There are push and pull factors which affect the functioning of the internal market: push factors simulate competition for consumer benefit and pull factors include over-regulation and the application of non-market values to the market.
The four freedoms
Today, the source of the internal market is s 26(2) TFEU, which states that:
The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.
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