Let’s talk about EU Advances, The EU has produced widespread advances, but not for all equally. The defense of the losers of globalization is key to their future. Who benefits? It is more than legitimate before the European elections to apply the famous Latin question to the project that the EU embodies. Coined as an intellectual path to clarify the authorship of a crime, the question helps to have a better strategic understanding in any type of field: there is no need to raise it. Who benefits the EU, then?
There are several response orders. From a historical perspective, the verification of the greatest period of peace in the continent under its aegis can settle the matter in a resounding way: to all European citizens. From a demographic point of view, a solid 67% of the inhabitants of the EU consider that their country has benefited from belonging to the club, according to a Eurobarometer of May 2018. At the top, Malta, Ireland and Lithuania stand out; the most dissatisfied are Italians, British and Austrians, but in no case is there a majority for the answer “it has not benefited”.
However, given the radical critical attack against the common project, these strong responses do not exempt us from the need to explore other areas of balance. In almost all of them, it is difficult to reach firm conclusions, among other things because we do not know how things would have gone without the EU. But it is possible to sketch relatively solid lines of thought.
In macroeconomic terms, it should be noted that the richest countries of the club have been net contributors to the common budget, with relatively large sums but which are calculated in hundredths or at most tenths of GDP each year. These countries, however, which are generally the most industrialized, have enjoyed the impetus of a broad free market to sell their products. The less rich countries have enjoyed subsidies that, among other things, have allowed infrastructural development that would not have been possible at the same speed without the EU.
The common market has obviously led to winners and losers. Coupled with the single currency, it has eliminated competition for tariff protectionism and monetary devaluation. The latter had for decades given an export boost to companies in peripheral countries. In the new environment many inefficient companies have lost out, and with them their workers, but in general it is difficult to argue that the single market has stimulated competition that has improved the offer and the price of products and services to consumers, protected also by pan-European quality standards and by antitrust authorities that have a force that nationals themselves could not have. The benefit of antitrust surveillance is an asset for the very underrated citizenship in the EU.