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EU Single Market

News and information about the European Union's single market.

Roadmap for completing the single market for parcel delivery 17 December 2013, 00:25 CET
The European Commission has today adopted a communication on completing the Single Market for parcel delivery to boost e-commerce in the EU, and to ensure that e-retailers and consumers have access to affordable and high-quality parcel delivery services.

Protection against unlawful acquisition of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) 28 November 2013, 23:48 CET
The European Commission has today proposed new rules on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. The draft directive introduces a common definition of trade secrets, as well as means through which victims of trade secret misappropriation can obtain redress. It will make it easier for national courts to deal with the misappropriation of confidential business information, to remove the trade secret infringing products from the market and make it easier for victims to receive damages for illegal actions.

High Level Group on Administrative Burdens 20 September 2013, 13:59 CET
The High Level Group on Administrative Burdens advises the Commission on the administrative burdens placed on businesses, in particular small businesses. It concentrates on how to simplify existing EU legislation and make national public administrations more efficient and responsive to the needs of companies – particularly smaller ones – when implementing EU legislation. The Commission's initiative for the reduction of administrative burdens by 25% between 2007 and 2012 was supported by the High Level Group. It is expected, in the medium term, to lead to an increase of 1.4% in EU GDP, equivalent to €150 billion.

Modernisation of the European Trade Mark System 27 March 2013, 15:42 CET
The European Commission has presented a package of initiatives to make trade mark registration systems all over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable. The proposed reform would improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU's territory.

Entrepreneurship Action Plan 09 January 2013, 13:48 CET
The Entrepreneurship Action Plan is a blueprint for decisive action to unleash Europe's entrepreneurial potential, to remove existing obstacles and to revolutionise the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe. Investments in changing the public perception of entrepreneurs, in entrepreneurship education and to support groups that are underrepresented among entrepreneurs are indispensable if we want to create enduring change. Only if a large number of Europeans recognise an entrepreneurial career as a rewarding and attractive option will entrepreneurial activity in Europe thrive in the long term.

Services package - June 2012 30 December 2012, 14:13 CET
On 8 June 2012, the European Commission adopted the "services package", which sets out actions that the Commission is proposing to stimulate growth in the services sector. The package is made up of the Communication on the implementation of the Services Directive "A partnership for new growth in services 2012 – 2015" and accompanied by three Commission Staff Working Documents. The package comes in response to Article 41 of the Services Directive, which calls for a comprehensive report on the application of the Directive. In adopting the "services package", the Commission is taking stock of how much progress has been achieved so far by the Member States in removing unnecessary legal and administrative barriers. It also identifies the restrictions that have not yet been abolished and proposes measures to make the single market for services work better in order to achieve growth.

New European approach to business failure and insolvency 13 December 2012, 17:32 CET
Businesses hit by the economic crisis will be thrown a lifeline under a new proposal from the European Commission today to modernise Europe’s rules on cross-border business insolvency, helping to give otherwise viable businesses a ‘second chance’. The Commission is proposing to modernise the current rules on cross border insolvency which date from 2000. Benefiting from ten years of experience, the new rules will shift focus away from liquidation and develop a new approach to helping businesses overcome financial difficulties, while at the same time protecting the right of creditors to get their money back.

Action Plan on European company law and corporate governance 12 December 2012, 17:09 CET
The European Commission has adopted an Action Plan outlining future initiatives in the areas of company law and corporate governance.

Protecting businesses against marketing scams 27 November 2012, 15:44 CET
The European Commission has outlined a series of actions to tackle marketing scams, such as those of misleading directory companies. The aim is to better protect businesses, professionals and NGOs across Europe from dishonest traders who do not play by the rules and use misleading marketing practices, such as sending out forms asking businesses to update details in their directories, seemingly for free, and then charging them annual fees. Small companies are particularly vulnerable to fraudsters, who are frequently operating from another jurisdiction within the EU. This makes enforcement difficult. The Commission therefore announced that it plans to beef up the existing legislation (the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114/EC) to explicitly ban practices such as concealing the commercial intent of a communication, while at the same time stepping up enforcement of the rules in cross-border cases.

New industrial revolution communication 10 October 2012, 17:42 CET
Europe needs to reverse the declining role of industry for the 21st century with the aim to deliver sustainable growth, create high-value job and solve societal challenge that we face. Immediate action should contribute to reverse the current downward trend from its current level of 15.6% of EU GDP to as much as 20% by 2020. Therefore the Commission proposes a number of priority actions to stimulate investments in new technologies, to improve the business environment, to access to markets and to finance, particularly for SMEs, and ensure that skills meet industry’s needs. Europe's industry is well placed to assume this role: Europe is a world-leader in many strategic sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, engineering, space, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Industry still accounts for 4/5 of Europe's exports and 80% of both Europe's exports and of private sector R&D investment comes from manufacturing. If confidence comes back, and with it new investments, Europe's industry can perform better and start growing again. This is the core message of a communication tabled by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani in Brussels today. The actions proposed by this Communication should also contribute to reduce competiveness gap across Member States and EU regions.

EU late payment campaign 05 October 2012, 17:48 CET
Every year across Europe thousands of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) go bankrupt waiting for their invoices to be paid. Yet late payment of bills is often seen by many as a perfectly acceptable practice. To end this damaging culture of late payment in Europe, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani launched today in Rome an information campaign across all 27 EU Member States and Croatia, to encourage speedy incorporation of the Late Payment Directive into national law, even before the absolute deadline on 16th March 2013.

Single Market Act II: twelve priority actions for new growth 03 October 2012, 18:28 CET
This year being the 20th anniversary of the Single Market, the European Commission on 3 October adopted Single Market Act II, putting forward twelve key actions for rapid adoption by the EU institutions. These actions are concentrated on four main drivers for growth, employment and confidence: a) integrated networks, b) cross border mobility of citizens and businesses, c) the digital economy, and d) actions that reinforce cohesion and consumer benefits.

Design for Growth and Prosperity 20 September 2012, 17:42 CET
In order to fully exploit the design's potential to boost innovation, growth and job creation, the European Commission has set up the European Design Innovation Initiative. Its policy recommendations - the report "Design for Growth and Prosperity" were presented to Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani at the European Design Innovation Summit in Helsinki, the World Design Capital in 2012.

Communication on the implementation of the Services Directive - guide 14 June 2012, 16:51 CET
A Communication entitled "A partnership for new growth in services 2012-2015" shows that implementation of the Services Directive must be improved in order to boost growth. To achieve the forecast growth the Commission calls on EU Member States to eliminate discriminatory regulations which still exist in a number of EU countries, such as rules discriminating on the basis of nationality or residence, obliging service providers to carry out "economic needs tests". It stresses that it will open infringement procedures against violations of the Services Directive. Moreover the Commission says it plans to work with Member States to maximize the economic benefits of the Services Directive through, for example, deep structural reforms in the areas where Member States decided previously to keep the status quo. Particular focus should be on key sectors such as business services, construction, tourism and retail (almost 30% of GDP).

Better governance for the Single Market - guide 14 June 2012, 16:44 CET
The European Commission is proposing to focus efforts on sectors with the largest growth potential. In 2012-2013, the sectors identified are services and network industries. In these areas, the Commission calls on EU Member States to commit to zero tolerance for late and incorrect transposition of Directives. The Commission, for its part, says it will provide enhanced transposition assistance in order to smooth out potential problems. In case of infringements, procedures should take no more than 18 months on average (currently 25.5 months) and Member States should comply with Court rulings within 12 months. To make the Single Market work more effectively, the Commission recommends making better use of IT tools to empower citizens and businesses. It calls on Member States to strengthen problem-solving tools and set up Single Market Centres to better monitor how Single Market rules work.

Single Market Governance - guide 28 February 2012, 00:02 CET
Last April, the Commission adopted the Single Market Act. It identified 12 key areas with the most growth potential in the Single Market and associated new proposals to exploit untapped potential. Today, the Commission presented an update of these efforts aimed a delivering growth, social progress and competitiveness.

Consultation on the future of European company law - guide 21 February 2012, 00:14 CET
The European Commission has launched an in-depth consultation on the future of European company law. Europe needs a company law framework that is adapted to the needs of the society of today and to the evolution of the economic environment. EU company law has played a central part in building the single market. The Commission says it is now time to see whether today's needs are still met by the existing legal framework. An on-line public consultation paper has been launched to collect comments from all stakeholders. The deadline for sending contributions is 14 May 2012.

Proposal for a Regulation on the Statute for a European Foundation - guide 08 February 2012, 22:49 CET
The European Commission has presented a proposal for a European Foundation Statute to make it easier for foundations to support public benefit causes across the EU.

EU standardisation strategy - guide 02 June 2011, 14:27 CET
The standardisation strategy presented by the European Commission on 1 June 2011 plays an important part in supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Measures include actions to be taken by the Commission and a series of recommendations addressed to other actors in the European standardisation system. Funding to support standardisation activities will remain a major driver for the development of standards whose primary function is to support EU policy making. The following actions form the core of the standardisation communication.

Intellectual Property Strategy - guide 25 May 2011, 00:09 CET
Intellectual property rights (IPR), which comprise patents, trademarks, designs and geographical indications, as well as copyright (authors' rights) and rights related to copyright (for performers, producers and broadcasters), have been around for centuries. Often, without our even realising, they affect our daily lives: they protect the technology we use (cars, mobile phones, trains), the food we eat and the music we listen to or the films we watch. But in the last few years, technological change and, in particular, the growing importance of online activities, have completely changed the world in which IPR operate. The existing mix of European and national rules are no longer adapted and need to be modernised. That is why the Commission has adopted today a comprehensive strategy to revamp the legal framework in which IPR operate. Our objective is to enable inventors, creators, users and consumers to adapt to the new circumstances and to enhance new business opportunities. The new rules will strike the right balance between promoting creation and innovation, in part by ensuring reward and investment for creators and, on the other hand, promoting the widest possible access to goods and services protected by IPR. Getting this balance right will make a real difference to businesses (from the individual artist working alone to the big pharmaceutical companies) by encouraging investment in innovation. This will benefit the EU's growth and competitiveness which is delivered through the single market. Consumers will benefit from wider and easier access to information and cultural content, for example online music. The strategy deals with many issues to ensure IPR are covered comprehensively - from the patent a business needs to protect an invention to tackling the misuse of such inventions via a proposal also adopted today which will strengthen action on counterfeiting and piracy. Among the first deliverables of this IPR overall strategy are today's proposals for an easier licensing system for so-called "orphan works" that will allow many cultural works to be accessible online, and for a new regulation to reinforce customs actions in fighting trade of IPR infringing goods.

The Machinery Directive 30 April 2011, 00:09 CET
CE Marking legislation which covers safety requirements for machinery sold within the Single Market

Single Market Act - guide 14 April 2011, 12:55 CET
Europe must act to create more prosperity and jobs. And it must do this urgently in the wake of the financial crisis. That is why the European Commission adopted the Single Market Act, a series of measures to boost the European economy and create jobs.

The Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 31 March 2011, 13:52 CET
EU CE Marking legislation which covers electromagnetic compatibility of certain products

Online gambling in Europe - guide 24 March 2011, 14:46 CET
On-line gambling is a fast developing business in Europe, with almost 15,000 websites already identified and total annual revenues exceeding EUR 6 billion in 2008 and expected to double in size by 2013. National legal frameworks vary enormously across the EU, with different rules applying to licensing, related on-line services, payments, public interest objectives, and the fight against fraud. In order to ensure legal certainty and effective protection of EU citizens in this fast-growing cross-border service activity, it is important to evaluate how possibly differing models can co-exist within the Internal Market. The primary aim of the Green Paper consultation, launched today, is therefore to obtain a facts-based picture of the existing situation in the EU on-line gambling market and of the different national regulatory models. The Commission seeks the views of stakeholders and wishes to collect detailed information and data on key policy issues such as organisation of on-line gambling services and enforcement of applicable laws; consumer protection and other relevant public policy challenges as well as commercial communications and payment services. Contributions to the consultation, which can be submitted until 31 July 2011, will determine the need for and form of any EU follow-up action in this field. Expert workshops on specific themes will be organised to complement this consultation.

Linking business registers across Europe - guide 03 March 2011, 13:43 CET
The Commission adopted on 24 February a proposal to interconnect business registers within the EU. Company registers provide company information that is essential for consumers and business partners alike, such as information on a company's legal form, its seat, capital and legal representatives. Today's proposal will help to facilitate cross-border electronic access to business information, by ensuring business registers are updated, and business information is more easily and readily accessible. These changes are crucial for companies when setting up branches, conducting cross-border trade or providing cross-border services in the EU. Business registers are currently organised at national, regional or local level, and lack the capacity to share information in an efficient and transparent manner. The proposal will now pass to the Member States and the European Parliament for consideration.