The Internal Market Project: the Basic Outlines

  • Josephine Shaw
Part of the Macmillan Professional Masters book series (PAPRMA)


As will by now be clear to the reader, one of the central preoccupations of the European Community during the period 1985-92 was the completion of the internal market, defined in Article 7A EC (previously Article 8A EEC) as an area without internal frontiers in which goods, services, persons and capital may move without hindrance. While the Single European Act does not in any way detract or derogate from the goals of the original Treaty of Rome, it had the effect of concentrating the effort of the Community upon a particular project — ‘1992’. The initial success of the internal market project was such that during the late 1980s and early 1990s it dramatically revitalised the fortunes of the European Community; issues such as Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which had long been abandoned on the back burner of the integration process, were now taken forward as serious and apparently attainable objectives. In addition, the Community has developed a more comprehensive and coherent regional policy (‘economic and social cohesion’), in response to the recognition that the economic adjustments caused by a larger market would exacerbate existing regional disparities. The development of these policies is seen by some as a pay-off to the less well-off Member States in return for their willingness to face the rigours of increased transnational competition, and by others as an aspect of the evolving macro-economic competence of the Community. As an international organisation, the European Community also enjoyed a significant resurgence in its standing during this period. However, by late 1992 the failure of the Community to reach a satisfactory agreement with the USA in the context of the GATT Uruguay Round began to throw doubt on the perspective of internal and external economic and political gains flowing inexorably from the internal market project (2.16). Finally, the possibility that the integration impetus had been stretched beyond breaking point by the failure of the fragile compromises reached in the Treaty of Maastricht on Economic and Monetary Union and Political Union to achieve the anticipated support of the citizens of the Community during the ratification process meant that the final period leading up to the 1992 deadline was not filled with as much euphoria as had been anticipated.


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Further Reading

  1. Argiros (1990) ‘Consumer Safety and the Single European Market: Some Observations and Proposals’. Legal Issues Of European Integration, 90/1. 139.Google Scholar
  2. Burrows (1990) ‘Harmonisation of Technical Standards: Reculer pour mieux sauter?’, 53 Modern Law Review, 597.Google Scholar
  3. Commission of the European Communities (1985) Completing the Internal Market. White Paper from the Commission to the European Council, Com (85), 310.Google Scholar
  4. Dehousse (1989) ‘1992 and Beyond: The institutional dimension of the internal market programme’, Legal Issues of European Integration, 89 /1, 109.Google Scholar
  5. Easson (1990) ‘The Internal Market and the Elimination of Fiscal Frontiers’, 10 Yearbook of European Law, 147.Google Scholar
  6. McGhee and Weatherill (1990) ‘The Evolution of the Single Market: Harmonisation or Liberalisation?’, 53 Modern Law Review, 578.Google Scholar
  7. Pelkmans (1986–7) ‘The New Approach to Technical Harmonization and Standardization’, 25 Journal of Common Market Studies, 249.Google Scholar
  8. Swann (1991) ‘Creating the Single European Market’, in G. Thompson et al. (eds), Markets, Hierarchies and Networks: The Coordination of Social Life, Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Josephine Shaw 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josephine Shaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

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