Notes from Dr Martin Holland's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 15 July 2003.
Dr Martin Holland
Professor Holland spoke initially on how the EC/ EU had evolved over time, culminating in recent times with constitutional review, enlargement and currency union. The constitutional review (led by a "Constitutional Convention", a group of 105 people representing Europe's political elite) was motivated partly by a desire to streamline and clarify various processes and relationships that had developed over time. For instance there are currently 18 types of EU law; if the convention's recommendations are accepted there will be only 2 types of EU law. More importantly, core EU processes and principles (such as consensus) that had been workable when the EU was smaller became increasingly inappropriate as the EU expanded. With its upcoming expansion to 25 members a review was essential.
The EU enlargement also makes the EU more heterogeneous. The new members are poorer than the existing membership, and typically are ex-Communist states. This creates a range of policy challenges for the EU, potentially drawing the EU's attention inward and eastward. Also, as the new states get a say in EU policy making EU decisions will start to be influenced by the interests and world-views of the new members. Both these developments have the potential to disadvantage New Zealand, as some new members, such as Poland are large agricultural producers who will face incentives to keep EU subsidies high and New Zealand agricultural product out.
Turning to the Pacific, Professor Holland focussed on EU aid policy. The EU is the largest aid donor in the Pacific region. The composition of EU aid has adjusted through time and now aims to focus on the institutional pre-requisites for growth - functional government, rule of law and so on. Moving from the Lome agreement (unilateral EU trade concessions for developing countries) to the Contonou agreement (trade concessions with some reciprocity) highlighted that shift in emphasis.