Sunday 27 June 2010

EU Single Market from Mario Monti report to real reform?

If this was the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), this would be called a text with EEA relevance.

On Europe Day, 9 May 2010, professor Marion Monti delivered his report to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso:

A new strategy for the Single Market at the service of Europe’s economy and society (107 pages)

If Project Europe 2030 of the Reflection Group, of which Monti was a member, received faint praise from the European Council, the heads of state or government showed a measure of commitment in their response to the proposals to reform the Single Market.

European Council conclusions

The conclusions of the European Council 17 June 2010 (document EUCO 13/10) mention Monti’s Single Market reform report in the context of a new European strategy for jobs and growth, under Finalising and implementing the Europe 2020 Strategy. Point 6, on page 4 tells us:

6. In particular, Europe's Single Market needs be taken to a new stage, through a comprehensive set of initiatives. The European Council welcomes the report presented by Mr Mario Monti on a new strategy for the Single Market and the Commission's intention to follow it up by presenting concrete proposals. The European Council will revert to this matter in December 2010.

Belgian EU Council presidency

If we look at the Programme of the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council (52 pages), it first mentions the Monti report under the strategic framework (‘Europe in action!’) on page 5:

The Belgian Presidency will continue the work set in motion by the Monti report dedicated to identifying the bottlenecks, missing links and new frontiers of the internal market.

The operational part of the Belgian presidency programme picks up the Monti report when it deals with the work in the Competitiveness Council (Internal Market, Industry and Research). The first paragraph of the section Internal market, on page 21, can be seen as a clear endorsement of future action:

Our primary concern is to strengthen the internal market. The Monti report contains recommendations relating to bottlenecks, missing links and new frontiers within the internal market. Based on this report, and the communication by the Commission referring to it, the Belgian Presidency will reopen the debate on the reinforcement and completion of the internal market, as well as the implementation of and compliance with its rules. This will involve preparing the ground for the Commission’s White Paper.

Future action?

If we believe what the European Council and the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union omit to tell us directly, and what they communicate in express terms, Project Europe 2030 languishes in limbo (as useful input), but the European Commission has been given a green light to prepare concrete proposals to reform the internal market (White Paper).

Pro captu lectoris, habent sua fata libelli.

Ralf Grahn

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