Single Market Act breaks down many barriers that prevent the EU's marketplace from flourishing
Posted, April 13, 2011 @ 00:00
Brussels, 13th April 2011 -- After 18 months of rhetoric about relaunching the EU's Single Market, the European Commission has today delivered a solid proposal for a 'Single Market Act' (SMA) which will act as a strong foundation for making the 27-nation marketplace more relevant to the 21st century, said Malcolm Harbour MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group chairman of the parliament's internal market committee.
The "Act" is actually a series of legislative and non-legislative initiatives that aim to drive down barriers in the Single Market, increase mobility of skilled workers and cut red tape for small businesses who wish to trade goods and services across the EU. Proposals include a European Skills Passport, improved access to finance for SMEs, improved processes of setting technical standards, better and clearer implementation of legislation and stronger infringement procedures for wayward member states.
Discussions over a reboot of the Single Market began in earnest 18 months ago when former EU commissioner Mario Monti was tasked to prepare a report for President Barroso. Following this, the parliament's internal market committee mooted the need for a clear strategy for the EU, by proposing the Single Market Act and for all future EU actions to be put through a 'single market test' to ensure they would benefit the common market.
Last week the European Parliament adopted three reports setting out its priorities for the SMA, many of which have appeared in the document published today.
Mr Harbour said:
"The Single Market is the key to a more competitive EU, which we desperately need. By encouraging competition within our extended marketplace we can also make ourselves more competitive in the global market.
"I am pleased to see that so many of the parliament's initiatives have been taken up by the commission.
"The Single Market needs transparent but well-enforced rules which are more user-friendly to businesses and consumers. It is not for politicians to build the marketplace but just to set the right conditions for it to flourish. With this package we can remove many of the barriers that are still holding business back.
"We must focus on creating new jobs, not on building in social clauses that I would prefer were left to national governments. There is no greater social ill than unemployment, which is exacerbated by inflexible labour markets. In the past I have felt that the internal market directorate in the commission takes one step forward whilst the employment directorate takes two steps back in terms of our competitiveness. The message needs to permeate across all parts of the commission that a competitive market facilitated by well-enforced but light regulation is the only future for the EU.
"We need to open our single market to all shapes and sizes of business, to give consumers confidence no matter how they shop, and to reach out to the global marketplace where we need to rise to the challenge of emerging economies. With these proposals we have a clear way ahead, - but delivery of the commitments is crucial."