I would like to show you why Europe matters in your life. Just think about the following example. A mobile phone. Behind a mobile phone there is a great idea, that is having a transformative impact on society and on our daily lives, all across the world. It is a little computer in your pocket with endless apps making life easier. Despite the greatness and disruptive potential of this idea, without the European intervention, the mobile phone wouldn’t be in your hands today. At least not in the European Union. Why is this? First of all the idea has to be protected. Other companies may free ride on this idea. But who offers such a protection? A public policy called intellectual property. Under this policy nobody can copy the underlying idea once it has been registered as a patent. In reality a mobile phone is based on a bundle of patents and other intellectual property rights. Who determines whether the technology behind this product is safe for your ears, for your eyes, for your brain? This is a public policy called health regulation. Who ensures that this device and its production process won’t have negative effects on the environment. This is a public policy aimed at the environmental protection. Environmental policy. Which acts through recycling and waste disposal schemes. Who decides whether and how this device may be marketed in the European Union.
This is the trade policy of the EU, that will decide, for instance, how much taxes will have to be imposed on the import of the product, taxes eventually effecting the final price you pay for the product.
What happens if the company, the manufacturer, due to its great success, applies prices which are excessive. Well, there is a public policy called competition policy. That enables the European Union to step in and sanction companies applying excessive pricing, especially when they’re acquiring a monopolistic position on the market. That means that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google, which are acquiring a dominant position on the market, often, because of the excellent quality of the products and services, bear a special responsibility when running their businesses.
What happens, if not Vodafone, but the Telecomm operators make you pay excessive pricing when making calls. This is what has been happening in international roaming. This is the rate that applies to you when you receive or make a call abroad. The European Union has decided to cap those prices to protect consumers and promote mobility in Europe. This set of illustrations shows that the European work is ubiquitous.
It affects all of us in our daily lives. It shapes the objects we use, and develops beneficial policies. Not withstanding the beneficial policies developed by the EU, the popularity of Europe itself, is very low.