The Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty are the key legislations pertaining to this integration of erstwhile separate national economies. These laws endeavor to decrease, if not eliminate, “ national differences in fundamental policies that are viewed as a common interest to the Union although there are vast differences in the social and economic structures of the members” . The application of principles of the market economy across the EU has transformed the economic landscape of the entire region. A healthy state of competition exists between nations and their leading enterprises, which helps generate economic growth, boost trade, encourage investment and lift the standard of living for all European Union citizens.
A classic example is a deregulation in telecommunications and air transport sectors and privatization of state-owned enterprises across the EU, which has leveled the playing field and has encouraged competition while also having positive economic implications for the citizens. In its early days, the European Union comprised of only six nations, all of which had well-developed economies. The subsequent stages of enlargement have made the Union more diverse in terms of the social and economic status of its member states.
This has conferred unprecedented opportunities for the smaller nations of the EU. Nations from the Eastern European bloc, especially, have benefitted from this integration. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, these nations were in economic turmoil. With the adoption of democracy and free-market capitalism, these nations have managed to come back from the brink, although some challenges still confront them. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice has gained a reputation for fairness and has not favored one nation over the other in its short history.
This must come as a big boost for the smaller members. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, for its part, has displayed remarkable activism.
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