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European integration: the third step

Harry Bowen () and Leo Sleuwaegen

Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series from Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School

Abstract: A perception of declining EU competitiveness has intensified calls for structural reforms within the EU. This paper examines recent evidence on changes in relative EU competitiveness and considers the observed changes in relation to the evolving competitive environment facing EU firms during the past two decades. Our analysis suggests that recent declines in EU competitiveness reflect an adjustment (or lack thereof) within the EU in response to an evolutionary “Third Step†in the process of EU integration: global market integration. We find that, starting from the mid-1990s, the EU began to face unprecedented increases in external sources of competition. The rising competition from external sources has created pressures for EU firms to alter their organizational and product market strategies to meet the challenge of a globally integrating market. While many leading EU firms are found to have responded to this challenge, EU firms remain hampered by anachronistic EU product and labor market regulations. The growing calls for structural reform therefore reflect the increased external competitive pressure on EU firms as they attempt to respond to growing global competition and to thereby strengthen their global competitiveness.

Keywords: Competitiveness; European Integration; Foreign Competition; Globalization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D21 F02 F23 L10 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 43 pages
Date: 2004-10-23
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eec
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Journal Article: European integration: the third step (2007) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2004-19a

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