Fortress Europe: The Myth

Bangemann, Martin | January 1, 1989

The anticipation of the 1992 continental-wide market has already had an unexpected effect: one-third of the average 3.7% increase in economic growth of the European Community for 1988 is the result of investors anticipating the big market. This is the clearest signal the business community could make to show its confidence in Europe. This is the beginning of the most extensive exercise of deregulation the European Community has experienced since its creation in the 1950s. Everybody agrees that it is an irreversible trend. Long gone is the “benign neglect” of those on Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue that led the United States press to coin the sinister “Europessimism” concept of the early 1980s. Indeed, during last year, many East Coast analysts depicted Europe as a five trillion dollar economy, thus granting the EC the economic powerhouse status it deserves. But awe often goes hand in hand with envy, which has resulted in the fashionable East Coast notion of “Fortress Europe.”