Competitive Europe

‘Regulations Should not Ignore Basic Market Economic Mechanisms’

Can Europe compete economically with China and the US as it seeks equal footing on the world stage? Former Croatian Finance Minister Martina Dalić offers views on ways to work towards that goal.

Martina Dalić is an economist and finance expert who was deputy prime minister of Croatia and minister of economy.
Martina Dalić is an economist and finance expert who was deputy prime minister of Croatia and minister of economy.Ivan Brkić

European Voices: Is there a way to make the continent a truly global player on equal footing with China and the US? To make Europe great again?

Martina Dalić: This would suggest that Europe has lost its greatness. But if we look at the past 10 years, we also had our successes. Defending our values is not an easy issue, but Europe is reacting well to these challenges, especially when there is war on European soil again. It is also fair to say that the European project brought a number of benefits to the member states. The level of economic development and the quality of life are better within the structures of the EU than how individual states would have achieved them. Even though member states were hit by the financial crisis, our common currency survived. Also, the coronavirus pandemic showed the importance of reactions not only by the member states but also by the European Union as a whole.

„We have to recognise in our policies that people ... with better qualifications ... become the backbone of our economies.“

Martina Dalić

We already are in the middle of the debate about competencies here: How much responsibility should stay with the member states and what should be administered at EU level?

I believe the answer has two pillars. If we look at it from a strictly economic point of view, a strong European economy requires the competitiveness of its enterprises and industries within a single market as well as outside the European market. Both the EU and the national levels of decision-making affect competitiveness. A stable and strong common currency implies the coordination of fiscal policies, which are decided by member states. Then there is the political pillar. Assessing the general wish of the nations across Europe, it doesn’t seem realistic to think about the United States of Europe. Therefore, we continuously and tirelessly need to search for a balance between the European and national levels, while always keeping in mind the competitiveness of European companies and the need to be able to withstand competition from other areas.

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