The European Movement – Peter Sutherland as European Commissioner
As with all great political projects the completion of the Internal Market, identified by the first Delors Commission as its primary aim, was a deceptively simple one. Both from the economic and political points of view the European Communities (EC) had been in a state of relative stagnation since the creation of the Exchange Rate Mechanism and even perhaps since the first oil shock in 1973. A series of reports had sought to break the political deadlock and to move the integration process forward between 1975 and 1985. The Tindemans Report of 1975 and the Report of the Three Wise Men in 1979 are examples but neither was clearly connected with a pragmatic economic goal. Then in February 1984 the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty on European Union which was the fruit of the initiative of Altiero Spinelli1. Following this the Fontainebleau European Council meeting in June 1984 had set up the Dooge Committee as an Ad hoc Committee on Institutional Reform. At the same meeting Margaret Thatcher, in her tabled statement called “Europe – The Future”, advocated the completion of the common market as the major projects to be undertaken. Ironically, having regard to her fundamental opposition to greater European unity, this proposal was later effectively to link institutional with economic reform. In fact nobody opposed the idea. In European policy initiative terms, this was a virtually unique circumstance. Furthermore there were powerful industrial advocates for this new dynamic. Wisse Decker of Phillips was prominent amongst these and indeed since then he and others from the European Round Table of Industrialists have often claimed, with some justification, that industry was the real driving force. One way or the other what is quite clear is that this objective started to take shape in late 1984.
In reality, no single individual or Member State can justifiably claim to have been its sole originator. It was simply a project whose time had come. Of course a Customs Union had been envisaged in the Treaty of Rome but the will to actually make it happen had not been there before. It had been part of the Solemn Declaration on European Union signed at Stuttgart on 19 June 1983 by the Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers – an event that some commentators claim effectively “relaunched the Community2, However in singling out this project from a plethora of others the main credit clearly must be given to Jacques Delors.
I was nominated by the Irish Government in late August of 1984 to be a member of the European Commission which would take up office in January 1985. There had been some discussion before that decision about whom might be the most appropriate person to designate. In fact I told Garret FitzGerald when he asked me that either Jim Dooge or Alan Dukes would be better appointments. When I was nominated I retained my position as Attorney General pending the choice of a successor but immediately began to prepare myself for the task. I thus set about deciding upon my cabinet and, even more important, considering which Commission portfolio would best enable me to contribute to the work of the Commission.
I discussed the issue of portfolio with a number of people well versed in EU affairs and particularly with Andy O’Rourke, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the EU. In addition I visited Emile Nöel, the Secretary General of the Commission, at the Berlaymont in Brussels during September 1984. Emile Nöel’s life was devoted to the European venture. Indeed nobody that I have ever met has known more its Byzantine workings than he did. Years later, sitting in his small apartment overlooking the Piazza della Signora in Florence where he was President of the European University Institute, we spoke of that early meeting. He told me how convinced he had been that a small country should provide the Commissioner for Competition because this would avoid some of the more obvious issues of conflict of interest. My reasoning was different and perhaps that of a lawyer rather than a politician or an economist. In re-reading the Treaties it became increasingly clear to me that, perhaps more than in any other case, the Competition portfolio vested real supranational authority in the Commission. Comprised of two elements, anti-trust rules and control of state subsidies, the Directorate for Competition (D.G. IV) had the means to influence policy in vital industry areas without reference to the Council of Ministers. The authority was already contained in the Treaty of Rome itself rather than in the Commission’s right to propose new legislation. As David Allen has pointed out competition law “is a symbol, however isolated, of the supranational powers that the Commission aspires to in other areas”.3
Even though Emile Nöel always maintained an ostensible distance from the politics of portfolio allocation within the Commission he certainly helped me more than I expected. In that early discussion in his unobtrusive and chaotic office he was uncharacteristically unambiguous in expressing the view that I should consider the Competition portfolio. He said that he would speak about it to Jacques Delors before my first meeting with him as indeed I believe he did.
In September 1984 I also had dinner with Vicomte Etienne Davignon the long serving and legendary Belgian Industry Commissioner who was about to retire. Davignon had made an enormous impact during his period as a Commissioner and ultimately Vice President of the Commission. He had first class political skills although, paradoxically, he had never been an elected politician.
There had been for many years something of a conflict between the Industry directorate (D.G. III) and the Competition Directorate. For example when Commissioner Raymond Vouel was in charge of DG IV he had attacked the proposals for market sharing among synthetic fibre producers advanced by Davignon. There had also been some friction between Davignon and Frans Andriessen who took over from Vouel in 1981. Notwithstanding this tension, Davignon was quite clear as to the value and potential of DG IV to make a real impact on the development of the Community not merely from an economic but from a constitutional point of view. He pointed out that if the new Commission was to make the Internal Market its leit motif competition policy would have to play a central role. The functioning of a market with free movement of goods and services could only work effectively if the distortions of restrictive practices and of abuses of dominant market positions by undertakings could be controlled. So also with State Aids. If governments could protect inefficient enterprises through the use of state funding then clearly the beneficial effects of a market economy simply would not work to maximise efficiency and innovation.
On my return to Dublin I spoke to An Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald who was also attracted by the potential of the Competition portfolio.
My next task was to secure the portfolio recognising that the final dénouement would be at the dreaded “Night of the Long Knives”. Of all the events in the recurring calendar of Community politics none was spoken of with more entertaining anecdotes and whispered conspiracy theories than this the occasion when portfolios are allocated. The nature of the Commission itself made this a complicated exercise. As the President of the Commission (before the Treaty of Amsterdam) was no more than primus inter pares he could not simply designate the portfolios to specified Commissioners. The task was a collective one of the college as a whole. It was not clear to me as to how forceful Delors would be in this process. While he was clearly the central figure the possibility of votes and coalitions of interest on who got what was a real one. Stories of past humiliations and triumphs on the issue were recounted with gusto and sometimes with uncharitable relish. Also it became clear that others were interested in the Competition portfolio notably Nic Mosar from Luxembourg and that there might be a contest. I was also conscious and worried about the likely reaction at home. There would be criticism of my appointment as a non politician particularly if I was seen to have failed to acquire what was perceived as a substantial role. I decided to try to meet all the members of the incoming Commission with a view to ascertaining their intentions and putting down a marker as to my own. The first and most important meeting was to be with Jacques Delors.
I met Jacques Delors for the first time over a bilateral lunch at the restaurant Chez Edgar in Paris which was then the favoured watering hole of socialist politicians and journalists. We went to a private room and conversed in a mixture of French and English. He talked a great deal about the need for a relaunch of Europe. On the constitutional issues relating to supranational development we were basically in agreement. I suppose that in United Kingdom terms we were both arch federalists although we sometimes disagreed later about the areas where supranational powers should be advanced. I found him to be both intense and serious but extremely likeable. He asked me what portfolio I wanted and I told him that there were two that were of particular interest to me: Development or Competition. I mentioned these knowing that in all probability Lorenzo Natali, the senior outgoing Italian Commissioner, would seek and get Development. To my consternation he asked me whether I would I like Agriculture. I told him that no Irishman would decline Agriculture and if he wished me to take it I would be honoured but I also told him that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject. He confirmed that Lord Cockfield was getting the Internal Market and Lorenzo Natali would be in charge of Development policies. As soon as I left him I returned to my hotel and telephoned the Taoiseach with the news. He was I think surprised but said that there could be no question of declining Agriculture.
On my return to Ireland. I hastily assembled an extremely effective team from the Department of Agriculture to commence a briefing but some days later and before this had gone too far I received a call from Delors saying everything had changed. Frans Andriessen, who had initially wanted External Affairs, had rejected a divided portfolio in this area as suggested by Delors. He had fallen back on Agriculture and Delors proposed to give it to him. This being the case he asked did I still want Competition. I was in fact delighted with this outcome and even though it was not assured I felt that I was in a reasonably strong position as we approached the fateful meeting to take place at the Abbaye de Royaumont outside Paris in November.
We met at the Abbaye for a couple of days. During the afternoon of the first day Delors held bilateral confessionals one by one with the new Commission. The only one absent was Claude Cheysson who was still serving as Foreign Minster of France. I was told at the time that he did not believe that the allocation of portfolios could be concluded that day because this Commission did not yet exist. As a result perhaps he was not concerned about being absent. His position was that the Commission would only come formally into being in early January and could take binding decisions only then. I met Delors after his meetings with Natali, Cockfield and Andriessen and he offered to propose Competition as my portfolio. He then said that in addition he would like me to also hold the Social Affairs, Health and Education portfolio until the Spanish joined the Communities which could occur, at the earliest, twelve months later. I was delighted by this turn of events which effectively gave me a double job. I thought it wise to retire early to my room for fear that my position would be damaged by Delors’ subsequent negotiations with others. I slept rather badly.
The following morning I rose early on hearing the local church bells at about 7am and went downstairs to find the debris of the preceding night much in evidence. Empty cognac glasses were everywhere. As nobody appeared to be up I went out into the grounds and walked down a tree lined avenue when I saw a figure approach through the early morning mist. It was Jacques Delors. He told me everything had been resolved amicably the previous evening and the portfolios allocated and in my case everything was as had been agreed. His only concern was whether he could announce the portfolio allocation that day. I strongly urged Delors to arrange an immediate press conference and to announce the agreement on portfolios. Otherwise I could see the whole delicate compromise falling apart particularly if Claude Cheysson did not like what he had been given which was the other half of the external affairs portfolio which he would share with Willy De Clercq. Delors decided to proceed and a press conference took place at 2 p.m.
When we took up office on the 5th of January 1985 one of my first press comments focussed on air transport and the uniquely anticompetitive cartel run by the national carriers in Europe. I said that I hoped to break it up. Within days I was invited to dinner in the home of former Commissioner Willy Haverkamp who had continued to reside in Brussels. When I arrived I noticed that there were only three places set. It transpired that the third person was the chief executive of a major European airline. After preliminary pleasantries he rapidly got down to business and unambiguously warned me off any activities in this sector claiming, spuriously, that air transport was effectively excluded from Art 85 of the Treaty of Rome and that I had no jurisdiction in the matter in any event. The evening ended frostily but it was an introduction to the sort of pressures with which I was to become familiar in coming years.
With the rapid resolution of the issue of portfolios the new Commissioners had spent some time at that first meeting discussing our priorities for the New Year. There has been some debate since about the genesis of ‘1992’ as the date for the completion of the Internal Market. Jacques Delors in an article in the Kangaroo News (the newsletter of a group of Europarliamentarians) later posed the question but did not answer it. Lord Cockfield in his book “Creating the Single Market” could not recall either precisely where it came from. Pascal Lamy, Delors Chef de Cabinet remembers it being decided by Delors and his cabinet. I believe that it simply emerged at Royaumont following a rather uninformed discussion because no one there knew with any degree of precision how much, or indeed what, legislation would be required to achieve free movement of capital, service, goods and people. Determining eight years as the appropriate time had to be, and was, a wild guess.
In fact as the term of a Commission was four years the first suggestion was to complete the task by the end of 1988. However there was a general view that more time would be needed and two terms was proposed and that brought us effectively to the 31st December 1992. And so it was to be. Following Royaumont, at the European Council Meeting in Dublin in December 1984, the conclusions included, at Delors request, a demand to “the Council in its appropriate formations ….. to take steps to complete the Internal Market”.
The White Book, as it was known, setting out just under 300 legislative proposals required to complete the internal market was later sent to the Heads of Government on the 14th June 1985. Lord Cockfield modestly described the Book “as a programme of immense scope and imagination”. He did not understate its importance nor his own significant role in putting it together but he fully deserved the credit subsequently given to him.
From the point of view of my own directorate this immense undertaking was to be the catalyst for a dramatic advance in competition law and practice. Indeed the White Book referred to the essential necessity of the rigorous application of competition policy to the effective completion of the Internal Market. As one commentator put it “The Internal Market would be an exercise in futility if, at the very moment national barriers to trade were levelled, European companies immediately set about raising them by introducing a new set of commercial barriers to trade and engaging in ingenious forms of anti competitive behaviour………(The Commission) proposes to reconcile the irreconcilable by introducing a comprehensive competition policy, granting it the power to appraise all large scale mergers……….”4.
The selection of a cabinet is vitally important for any Commissioner. This point was emphasised to me by every person who knew the workings of the EC’s institutions. Apart from the late Liam Hourican, who was an old friend and collaborator, I had no real ideas about whom to include in my cabinet. Liam had been Chef de Cabinet for Richard Burke my predecessor and was to be invaluable in assisting the process of selection of the team. The cabinet had to include individuals who could effectively cover not merely the portfolios for which I had responsibility but also those of other Commissioners. The process for Commission decision making on contentious issues usually involved a meeting and debate on new proposals initially by the specialised members of cabinet of all Commissioners. Then their conclusions went for further debate if necessary to the meeting of the Chefs de Cabinet held under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General Emile Noel on the Monday preceding the Wednesday Commission meeting at which a decision was to be taken. In selecting my team I communicated with all government departments that I thought relevant and enquired there about possible candidates. I also received a large number of unsolicited indications of interest in a position from a wide range of individuals many of whom were not Irish and some of whom served in the EC institutions. I decided early that nobody could join the cabinet who did not speak at least one Community language in addition to English. In addition I sought a specific prior active involvement and expertise in some element of EU affairs. One name mentioned to me was Richard O’Toole of Foreign Affairs who at the time was Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva. He had a formidable reputation and wide experience. This had included working with the International Energy Agency in Paris as Special Assistant to the Executive Director and also periods on secondment with the French Foreign Service at the Quai d’Orsay and the Italian Foreign Service at the Farnesina. He also had served in the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs as First Secretary in the Economic Division and later in the Political Division as European Correspondent and knew the EC well. He was about a year younger than I. We met for dinner for the first time in a Dublin club and I knew within minutes that he was the man for me. Shortly afterwards I contacted Foreign Minister Peter Barry and asked for Richard’s early release in order to put him on the ground in Brussels to assist in the next stages of my building of the Cabinet. I had decided that Liam could not be my Chef de Cabinet even though this would be hurtful to him as indeed it was. My reasoning was that whatever way the portfolio was resolved I would need a Chef de Cabinet who was familiar with economic and constitutional matters. Neither was Liam’s forte. It was typical of the man that when I told him that I intended to appoint Richard O’Toole as Chef de Cabinet, and offered him the role as Deputy Chef, he as prepared to accept. It required a really big and generous man to do as he did but that is what he was. He was to prove to be exceptionally important to me in the period ahead not merely in his function but as a close and dear friend whose early death shocked and horrified all who knew and loved him.
The other members of the Cabinet were Catherine Day, a Commission official and economist from Dublin, who was to handle, with consummate skill, the most difficult area of my portfolio, control of state aids. Jean Francois Verstrynge, a Belgian, who was later Visiting Professor of European Law in Harvard, had worked in the cabinet of my predecessor Frans Andriessen and he handled anti trust matters. He was both courageous and innovative. I asked Eugene Regan to follow agriculture. He had significant experience both being an economist and lawyer who in his varied career though only 32 years of age had been Chief Economist of the Irish Farmers Association and later Chief Executive of the Meat Exporters Association. David O’Sullivan, another Commission official, and like Catherine Day, was to have a meteoric Commission career, handled Social Affairs, External Relations, Development and later Relations with the European Parliament. Finally, I asked Delors for the authority to take on an extra cabinet member because of the extent of my responsibilities. This was to be Michel Richonnier who was something of a visionary. He had written a well reviewed book presenting future perspectives for Europe in technology and in the collegiate atmosphere played a role in presenting lateral thinking on a wide range of subjects. Michel and Hywel Jones, a senior official in D.G. V (Social Affairs) both worked on my initiative to establish the successful Erasmus student exchange programme launched in late 1985.
Four years later when I was about to leave the Commission Roland Gachot, who had long served Emile Nöel, remarked to me that Richard O’Toole was one of the three best Chefs de Cabinet that he had known in his decades of experience and that my Cabinet as a whole was also one of the best ever. Any minor success we may have achieved was largely due to the team that I had assembled.
In retrospect my first Commission meeting in early January 1985 was a watershed in more ways than one. As was the practice the agenda had been prepared during the preceding days by the specialised cabinet members on their various subjects and then by a meeting of the Chefs de Cabinet. I had received a written and an oral briefing from Richard O’Toole on each item on the agenda. Shortly after the meeting commenced, however, Delors without prior warning said that, as a preliminary matter, he proposed to grant “the customary “habilitations” to Frans Andriessen, the Agriculture Commissioner. I had no idea what a “habilitation” was and as I felt a particular responsibility to keep a close eye on what happened in such an important portfolio which spent such a large proportion of the Community budget. I said to the President that I did not understand what he meant by “habilitation”, that I had no notice of the matter and would like it put back for a week. Nobody else said anything although I discovered later that virtually all of the new commissioners were just as mystified as I was. The discussion quite quickly took on an acrimonious tone. Jacques Delors said that this was an absolutely normal delegation of authority to Andriessen to take certain decisions without reference to the Commission as a college and that it merely followed normal practice. I responded by saying that I did not dispute his explanation but still would like, as a new Commissioner, to look at the issue and be properly informed before proceeding. This was taken badly and I was asked whether I wanted to vote on the issue (the President also said that the previous Commission never had votes and this would be a bad precedent). I stuck to my guns and we had a vote which I believe I lost by seven votes to five. Although it may have been somewhat a traumatic beginning to my period as a Commissioner, in retrospect I believe that it was healthy for the Commission to have voted on the issue and it created a good climate for subsequent serious-minded decision taking, in which voting was quite frequent.
While Jacques Delors (who is a truly historic figure) deserves the main credit for the relaunching of Europe through the ‘1992’ project I felt he was never entirely at ease with the focus on market economics that it represented. He was not a natural deregulator and he certainly wanted some balance through social policies. However he pushed it through and consistently supported Cockfield in the Commission. So did I. Cockfield himself was an unlikely candidate for success. A former tax inspector, his personality on initial contact was distant and he was without notable political or communication skills. Michel Petite who worked in his cabinet has described him as “a cool Cartesian”.5 However, he took very seriously his responsibilities under the Treaties. His logic was inexorable and so was his pursuit of his goal; once he decided on a course he would not be diverted.
As early as his first speech to the European Parliament on the 14th January 1985 Jacques Delors was to indicate that he knew that the grand project could not be achieved without institutional reform and in particular more majority voting. This reform, to be ultimately attained through the Single European Act, truly inspired him and was to become one of his two great achievements. (The other was to Economic and Monetary Union). The Single European Act was also to cause Margaret Thatcher some considerable distress. As she had so strongly advocated the completion of the Internal Market, and it was readily apparent that it could not be achieved without more majority voting, she was caught between a rock and a hard place. She ultimately conceded and signed the Single European Act, something she claims now to regret.
Competition policy as enshrined in the Treaty of Rome was never intended to simply endorse and provide the means to enforce the market economy system but it was and is essential element in it. There was no absolutism in the regulatory regime proposed by the Treaty however and this no doubt reflected the Social Market Economy concept of Ludwig Erhardt that so influenced the drafting of the Treaty. It was conceded for example, in Article 92 that regional disadvantage might sometimes justify interventions through state aids that might otherwise be considered distortive and illegal. The provisions sought however to apply objectivity and principle to Commission decision making but they left considerable discretion to the Commission. An example of the application of the rules to state aid regimes can be found in the case of the International Financial Services in Dublin. When the Irish Government applied for the essential tax concessions underlying this proposal there were strong grounds for permitting the scheme. Ireland, as a single regional area, was clearly then disadvantaged in EC terms. The GDP per capita was less than 75% of the current EU average and unemployment was significantly above the average. In July 1987 the Commission decided that the 10% rate of corporation tax could be extended to firms whose income was derived from certified international financial services carried on at the Customs House Dock site. The Commission based this exceptional treatment “not only on the serious economic and social situation in Dublin but also on the development benefits of the project in the overall Irish context”.6 I believed then and still believe that positive intervention can be both necessary and desirable in certain cases. This was one of them although I could not at the time imagine the scale of enormous success the IFSC was ultimately to become.
In my opinion the most important innovative legal step taken in Competition policy during my period in office was the first substantive use of Article 90 of the Treaty of Rome to create competition in areas where Member States had previously granted exclusive rights to monopolies. This was one of only two areas where the Commission could itself issue a Directive without the agreement of the Council of Ministers. By Directive 88/301/EEC of 16th May 1988 the Commission took its first major step in this area when it required competition in the market for telecommunication terminal equipment. The Directive provided for the abolition of exclusive rights granted in this field by nearly all the Member States to their State national telecom companies. This decision was to be the catalyst for one of the great revolutions in the economic affairs of the EU and when it was taken we all knew that it was the thin end of a very large wedge. Its relevance was that it opened the door for the Commission to drive the liberalisation of markets in areas such as telecommunications, transport and energy which were generally dominated by state monopolies. This process has in fact transformed the economic environment in Europe and has inevitably led to the wholesale privatisation of public utilities everywhere. The decision itself was bitterly fought in the relevant Commission meeting. A number of member states challenged the decision before the European Court of Justice but the Court upheld the substance of the Commission’s right to act as it had.
The change in the law brought about by the Terminal Equipment Case7 was a striking one. In the earlier Sacchi case8 (1974 ECR 409) the approach of the Court had been that the State could “reserve to itself certain sector of the economy and thus exclude them from competition”.9 The authors of the book concluded that the Terminal Equipment Case constituted a turning point which radically altered the law. Monopolies could henceforth be potentially illegal per se “On the basis of Terminal Equipment all national monopolies at least over products may potentially be contrary to the Treaty insofar as they restrict imports”.
On the other hand it was particularly noticeable that Commission decisions were almost generally accepted by governments when they did not involve state enterprise. I do not believe that the issue was essentially one of political ideology. Where public utilities came under threat then the symbiosis between the civil services and the management of the public utilities became apparent. The civil service often nominated the management of public utilities from their own ranks and effectively also providing their Boards so it was surprising that they often became vigorous defenders of monopoly positions. The prolonged action warfare initiated by DG IV across a range of sectors following the Terminals Directive (including air transport and energy) was highlighted by the increasingly apparent failures and inefficiencies of state managed European public utilities. It was already evident from the cost reductions evident in Britain where liberalisation and privatisation had advanced far more rapidly than elsewhere that deregulation was essential to achieve structural reform and a more dynamically growing economy in Europe. Ireland, with the exception of the field of air transport, was always a reluctant traveller along the path advancing competition in the areas reserved hitherto to state monopolies.
My personal involvement with the 1992 project did not conclude when I left the Commission. In July 1992 I was invited by the European Commission to chair an Advisory Committee to report to the European Council in December 1992 at its meeting in Edinburgh during the British Presidency. The report was intended to help to shape the Commissions’ objectives regarding the implementation of the Internal Market for 1993 and beyond, particularly following ratification of the Maastricht Treaties. The other members of the group were Dr. Ernst Albrecht, the former Minister and President of Lower Saxony; Christian Babusiaux, Director General of Competition Consumer Affairs & Enforcement of France; Sir Brian Corby President of the Confederation of British Industry; Pauline Green MEP and Dr. Giuseppe Tramontana of Italy. The intention was to encourage greater political commitment to a more effective partnership between the Commission and the Member States. As the end of the Internal Market legislative programme was then in sight the group was asked to map out the best way to ensure that the full benefits of the Internal Market were secured in practice.
During the following months having invited submissions from European associations and interest groups the committee met regularly and ultimately produced the Report which was unveiled at a press conference in Strasbourg on the 28th October 1992. The seventy page document contained thirty-eight main recommendations on how EC laws should be implemented effectively at national level. It agreed that there were risks in the debate on subsidiarity particularly as it could bring about a situation where the implementation of EC laws was so diverse at national level that it endangered the coherent implementation of the Internal Market.
The British Presidency forcefully pressed for swift action on the Report. The Report was put before the Council of Ministers the week following its initial presentation. The Presidency followed this with a consideration of the Report at the November 10th Internal Market Council before the discussion at the European Council. The Report was generally approved at each level and the communiqué following Edinburgh expressed general support for its recommendations.
The implications of the largely successful accomplishment of the 1992 programme combined with advances in Competition Policy cannot be overstated. On the economic level the process of globalisation that has developed in the 1990s has ordained that Europe had to rapidly improve its competitiveness or suffer serious consequences from import penetration. Therefore the modernisation of the European economy through the development of real competition in all sectors was an absolute requirement for the Member States. They in turn had not shown a willingness to confront the thorny political issues that opening up competition would necessarily create. In some respects the Commission was to become a scapegoat for policy initiatives that the national administrations basically accepted as being necessary but were unwilling to publicly advocate. For example on many occasions Ministers told me privately that they accepted elements of competition policy in the area of state aids that they publicly rejected.
In another sense the 1992 project helped globalisation to happen not merely through conditioning European countries to take liberal economic positions in the Uruguay Round but also in providing examples of how to implement free movement of goods and services through multilateral negotiations in Geneva at the GATT and now the World Trade Organization. Having been conditioned to market liberalisation the Member States found it possible to agree common positions on the largest and most comprehensive round of trade negotiations ever conducted.