The Selsdon Manifesto dates from the Group's founding in 1973. Nearly fifty years on progress has been made in some areas, particularly in the balance between the public and private sector. Some sections however remain relevant today
Evolution of the EEC
To a remarkably large extent, the Treaty of Rome aims to remove obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital and to establish free competition within the economies of the member states.
After the transitional period for the new members, the EEC will be a full Customs union. But progress towards economic union has been slow and hampered by the interventionist philosophy of the Commission in such fields as transport. The Common Agricultural Policy has taken up a great bulk of the Commissionís time, energy and budget. Because of high world prices, the CAP has not had a significant effect on food prices in the United Kingdom this year. But it is avowedly protectionist. Unless the CAP raises food prices above what they would otherwise have been, the policy is pointless.
A small part of the CAP Budget is now devoted to encouraging marginal farmers to move to other occupations. Such aids to mobility should be expanded and the level and cost of protection progressively reduced and eventually eliminated.
The requirements of the CAP have been used as a justification for the Communityís emphasis on monetary union - fixing parities between the currencies of the member states. Despite the difficulties and cost, the snake in the tunnel wriggles on. But unless economies and economic policies are fully integrated, monetary union, by preventing parity changes when economic conditions alter, could prove disastrous for parts of the Community.
The snake has already led to restrictive measures on capital movements which are contrary to the aims of the Treaty of Rome. The drive towards monetary union should be abandoned in favour of floating rates and a concerted effort to achieve within the Community the free movement of thefactors of production and the coordination of national economic policies.