A HIGHLY TOPICAL RESEARCH STATEMENT ABOUT THE INTERNAL MARKET BEFORE BRITAIN LEAVES THE EUROPEAN UNION
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
The editors, Panos Koutrakos and Jukka Snell, begin this excellent academic statement with these words: “while the internal market has been at the heart of the European project from the very beginning, it has rarely been the subject of sustained and comprehensive scholarly examination in its entirety”.
Until now and at a time which is the beginning of substantial testing of the internal market structures for the European Union now that we know the United Kingdom is starting the process to leave its membership of the EU: we enter new territory at a defining moment for Europeans. The editors write that “in the face of profound legal, political and policy pressures, this timely Research Handbook reflects on the cutting-edge issues, horizontal themes and the big questions which illuminate the shape of the internal market”. That statement succinctly sums up why this book is both prescient and appropriate as Europe faces its biggest test for decades: the departure of a leading player from the trading scene.
What the editors and contributors have done here is to place “the law and policy of the internal market within the context of the financial crisis and the existential questions this has raised for future European integration”. Some task and it is inevitable that this work will need revision probably within the next two to three years as Europe assesses its markets in the post UK membership era of (probably) the 2020s.
With what is described as “a departure from existing literature in the field”, the contributors (all experts in their chosen specialisms) consider the four freedoms as “a functional whole” and they “identify horizontal and overarching themes that have emerged over the years” which means to say, in less academic prose, to review also the threats and mutterings… now successful… from the rabid euro-sceptics (and not just those in Britain).
This handbook looks at six of these “overarching themes”; namely, the reach of the internal market, the relationship between economic and non-economic interests, the internal market as an economic union, uniformity versus diversity, the governance and politics of the internal market, and the internal market in the world.
All topics very much at the heart of what the British government must wrestle with if it is to succeed with the referendum decision to abandon the EU in favour of other trading markets, many rather unspecific and tentative just now.
Elgar rightly describe this title “as a perceptive research handbook” which will make fascinating reading for scholars and students in EU law and European studies at a time of change… but no mention of Brexit here (thankfully).
And, of course, it does offer an invaluable additional resource for practitioners, policy makers, and anyone interested in the future of the internal market specifically and European integration in general at a time of massive change within the European Union.
It is very much the house style of Elgar to produce these very high quality publications which do ease the burden of scholarship greatly. We remain indebted to the publishers for their excellent European Law handbooks series at this monumental time of change for all.
The publication date is 2016.