The EU and the Four Freedoms

Aidan O’Neill QC

When being interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House on Sunday, Brenda Maddox, the editor of Prospect Magazine made the point that, despite the current crises with the Euro, the European Union has been remarkably successful in its original post WWII strategic aim of creating an area of peace (if not always prosperity) in Europe.  If war might be seen as the continuation of economics by other means, then the economic union and integration which the EU has created over the past sixty year has achieved its primary goal of beating the swords of Franco-German rivalry into the ploughshares of the Common Agricultural Policy.

It is perhaps worth reminding ourselves of this achievement of this Pax Europaea and the importance its maintenance, even as fears mount that the Euro-zone project looks set to crash and burn under the weight of Greek insolvency and a loss of confidence in Italian fiscal management. It is important to recall this idealistic foundation when faced with the now vast and sprawling – and ever-expanding – web of Treaties, legislation, principles, rights and duties that is now EU law.

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