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Brussels issues protectionism warning on EU Single Market

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Brussels issues protectionism warning on EU Single Market

Elzbieta Bienkowska - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - Presenting a review of the Single Market Thursday, the EU Commission told Member States that greater efforts and political courage were needed to close the gap between rhetoric and delivery.

In a Communication presenting a state of play of the Single Market and an assessment of remaining barriers and opportunities for a fully functioning Single Market, the Commission says the Single Market has made Europe one of the most attractive places to live and to do business over the last 25 years.

It says its four indivisible freedoms – the free movement of people, goods, services and capital – have helped improve citizens' prosperity and strengthen the EU's competitiveness.

However, more is needed to exploit the Single Market's full potential in the digital era and ensure sustainable economic growth.

"For people, services, products and capital to circulate freely – physically or online – we need everybody in the EU to play by the commonly agreed rules," said Elzbieta Bienkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. There was a need for effective and consistent enforcement, she added. "And just as we are resisting protectionism outside the EU, we should resist fragmentation inside the EU. We need to continuously uphold our Single Market to preserve our best asset for future generations."

The Commission highlights three main areas where further efforts are needed to deepen and strengthen the Single Market:

  • Swiftly adopt proposals on table: The Commission has presented 67 proposals directly relevant for the proper functioning of the Single Market, 44 of which remain to be agreed. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the key proposals on the table before the end of this legislature. This includes relevant proposals to integrate digitisation and new technologies at the core of the Single Market, to ensure more secure and sustainable energy in Europe, and to build the Capital Markets Union (see factsheet Overview of initiatives)
  • Ensure the rules deliver in practice: Citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the Single Market (see factsheet on the Single Market) if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. The Commission calls on Member States to be vigilant in implementing, applying and enforcing EU rules and refrain from erecting new barriers. For its part, the Commission will continue to ensure respect of EU rules across the board, from car emissions to e-commerce, from social media to the services sector, and much more besides.
  • Continue adapting the Single Market: Faced with growth gradually slowing down at global level and a changing geopolitical context, the EU needs to show leadership and political courage to take the Single Market to a new level. There is significant potential for further economic integration in the areas of services, products, taxation and network industries. It will make the Union even more attractive to international trading partners and provide it with additional leverage on the international stage.

Also today the Commission presented an Action Plan on standardisation, which presents four key actions to increase the system's efficiency, transparency and legal certainty.

Factsheet Single Market: Europe's best asset in a changing world

Factsheet Overview of Single Market initiatives

Communication Single Market: Europe's best asset in a changing world

Press release on standardisation


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