Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Day off for EU Civil Servants

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Felt like filing a merger today? Or having a call with a Commission official to discuss a case of common interest?

Unlikely to happen. Today is Europe day or in EU jargon, Schuman day. Most competition civil servants are off duty, chillin’.

What the EU institutions celebrate today is the anniversary of the Schuman declaration of 9 May 1950. In this declaration, R. Schuman, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs (see above picture), invited the governments of France, Germany and other European countries to team up and build a federal state.

The celebration of this event triggers the following remark on my end: as it stands today, the EU is  a direct emanation of the Schuman declaration. Yet, 61 years after, and with the exception of competition policy perhaps, we are still far from a federal state with some sort of political existence (nota: I am a convinced federalist). This is true both internally – ever heard anyone saying he was a EU citizen? – and externally – think of the EU’s invisibility in relation to Lybia.

In addition, I am pessimistic on the future, given the increased fragmentation dynamics at the domestic level (think of the nefarious state of Belgian politics) and the somewhat mechanical, ever-enlarging nature of the EU (think of Turkey’s accession demands, backed to a large extent by those who only conceive the EU as a shopping mall).

Written by Nicolas Petit

9 May 2011 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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