Thursday, 14 April 2011

EU Single Market Act launched (provisionally)

Yesterday, we looked at the background, the endorsement from the European Council, the advance information from the Commission, as well as the NPthinking blog, EurActiv, the letter from nine European leaders and the recent resolutions by the European Parliament, in 'European Council: Single Market – time to act?'

Single Market priority projects

Later in the day, Commissioner Michel Barnier was in turn. The Commission launched the Single Market Act (SMA) by publishing a customary press release with the main points, available in 22 official EU languages: Twelve projects for the 2012 Single Market: together for new growth; Brussels, 13 April 2011, IP/11/469.

The European Commission promises concrete proposals in twelve priority areas:

1. Access to finance for SMEs
2. Worker mobility in the Single Market
3. Intellectual property rights
4. Consumers: Single Market players
5. Services: strengthening standardisation
6. Stronger European networks
7. Digital Single Market
8. Social entrepreneurship
9. Taxation
10. More social cohesion in the Single Market
11. Regulatory environment for business
12. Public procurement

Also in customary fashion, the Commission released a memo putting things into perspective: Single Market Act – Frequently Asked Questions; Brussels, 13 April 2011, MEMO/11/239. It is available in English only.

The memo answers seven hypothetical questions, with background and explanations:

1. What is the Single Market?
2. Why are you proposing a Single Market Act?
3. How will the Single Market Act meet these challenges and restore confidence?
4. What are the key proposals of the Single Market Act?
5. Is there a deadline for adopting these measures?
6. Why did you not include all 50 proposals put forward in the October 2010 Communication 'Towards a Single Market Act'
7. What are the next steps?

The memo contains useful links to documents from EU institutions and advisory bodies.

EU2020 website

The memo offers a link to the Europe 2020 website.

The Single Market Act and the Europe 2020 growth strategy are kindred spirits, but separate projects. Thus, the memo link to the EU2020 web pages does not turn up any updates or new documents. (By the way, there are still no National Reform Programmes or other documents from the EU member states posted on the Europe 2020 website.)

Single Market Act website

The 'pièce de résistance' is, of course, the communication from the European Commission.

The website dedicated to the Single Market Act has been updated with links to the press release and memo mentioned above, as well as the provisional communication from the Commission in English:

Single Market Act: Twelve levers to boost growth and strengthen confidence: "Working together to create new growth"; Brussels, ??, COM(2011) 206/4 (26 pages).

At this point, there is also a French provisional version of the communication:

L'Acte pour le marché unique : Douze leviers pour stimuler la croissance et renforcer la confiance : "Ensemble pour une nouvelle croissance ; Bruxelles, le ??, COM(2011) 206/4

After Italian, all the language versions of the Single Market Act website were hidden behind a posted video and thus inaccessible, but between Bulgarian and Italian some language versions of the web page had still not been updated at all.

There was no German version of the communication yet, although it is one of the three working languages of the Commission; neither did I find the communication in other languages.

The communication is accompanied by SEC(2011) 467.

COM(2011) 206 final and SEC(2011) 467 have not yet been posted on Eur-Lex, under preparatory documents, in any language, but let us hope for improvements within the next few days.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Even if you do not understand Swedish, is worth a look. It is a national website dedicated to EU affairs, with news and interviews, thematic pages, debate and links to outside sources. Run by a surprisingly small team, is owned by the main trade unions and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. Could this model be applied elsewhere? See also @europaportalen on Twitter.