Tuesday, 13 March 2012

EU Towards a Single Market Act

After looking at Your Single Market? and other introductory material, we turn to the communication (available in 22 languages) prepared under the responsibility of the internal market commissioner Michel Barnier. The English language version of the consultation paper:

Towards a Single Market Act: For a highly competitive social market economy - 50 proposals for improving our work, business and exchanges with one another; Brussels, 27.10.2010 COM(2010) 608 final (45 pages)


Social market economy

The Lisbon Treaty defines the EU aim of a ”highly competitive social market economy” and the Monti report wanted to broaden the support for a relaunch of the single market, so it is hardly surprising that the Commission's discussion paper is presented as (page 3):

This is a social market economy approach, based on the assumption that a single market needs to enjoy the support of all market players: businesses, consumers and workers. In this way, the single market will allow Europe to become collectively competitive.


Single Market and EU2020

The internal market (single market) did not become an integral part of the Europe 2020 growth strategy (EU2020), nor was it labeled as a flagship initiative. So how does the communication deal with the relationship between the Single Market Act under construction and the EU2020 strategy? The page 4 fudge:

The relaunch of the single market is therefore an essential element of the EU 2020 strategy, which proposes seven flagship initiatives: (i) an innovation Union, (ii) youth on the move, (iii) a digital agenda for Europe, (iv) a resource-efficient Europe, (v) an industrial policy for the globalisation era, (vi) an agenda for new skills and jobs and (vii) a European platform to tackle poverty. An up-to-date single market is the common foundation of all these structures. It is the tool that will help them create growth and employment and in so doing give new impetus to intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth, thereby increasing synergies between the various flagship initiatives. Certain elements of the flagship initiatives will help to structure the operation of the single market and are therefore measures for its relaunch. These measures are therefore included both in this Communication and the flagship initiatives, in particular the digital agenda for Europe, the Union of innovation and an industrial policy for the globalisation era.


Public consultation

The Commission announced a consultation period of four months, asking for contributions by 28 February 2011 (page 35). This would then lead to the next step, the definitive Single Market Act (SMA):

After this public debate, and based on the conclusions drawn from it, the Commission hopes that all of the European institutions will undertake, at the start of 2011, to make this Act and its 50 measures into the definitive policy action plan for 2011-2012. This will serve as a dynamic commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the single market at the end of 2012.

For the convenience of readers, the proposals sketched in the text are also listed at the end for a quick overview (pages 37-45).


EEA relevance

Naturally, the 50 individual proposals presented in the communication are of interest not only to the citizens and enterprises in the European Union, but to the rest of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well, 30 countries in all, with a total population of about 507 million.



Ralf Grahn
public speaker on EU affairs

P.S. Multilingual Bloggingportal.eu aggregates the posts from 940 Euroblogs, which represent an important part of the emerging European online public space, across national and linguistic borders. Among them you find my current blog trio, Grahnlaw (recently ranked fourth among political blogs in Finland), Grahnblawg (in Swedish) and Eurooppaoikeus (meaning European Law, in Finnish). Besides democracy, institutional issues and EU politics, I increasingly write and speak about the challenges of growth (EU2020) and the (digital) single market in the making.