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Quality of Regulation and Competitiveness in the European Countries

Ferran Brunet
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Ferran Brunet
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Open Panel

Abstract

The European Union (EU) Member States (MS) and the other European countries are democratic societies with market economies. Though quite diverse in their respective histories and in their levels of development, most are subject to common or similar regulations in social, economic and political relations. Nevertheless, the performances of each MS are most diverse with respect to political freedom (liberty, individual and collective rights, representative forms, instruments of power), economic freedom (from property to competition, from bank access to living-standards) and social protection (labor market regulations, vital cycle solidarity, compensatory policies). In these aspects, great progress has been made as well as a certain convergence achieved; still, most of the gaps between MS persist. In this paper, we consider: i) economic and political freedom (EPF) in the EU MS, their components, dynamics and gaps; and ii) the impact of the EU in developing a multilevel governance system, which favors the MS regulatory quality. For many MS and regions, the EU appears to be an anchor for the empowerment of democracy, competition, and the rule of law, and a guarantee for minimal quality standards and intervention-limitation. In this sense, there is an interest for the MS to be had in the EU forms and acquis, a need for Europe. Inversely, one question both research and practice-related we shall consider is why, despite the EU regulations, there exist huge differences among the MS on EPF. In a context of integration and of globalization, the diminishing of the regulatory gaps is the main way of favouring MS competitiveness, which itself is the best way to minimize the effects of the current crisis.