Sunday 11 December 2011

David Cameron and EU Single Market

We know that politics make strange bedfellows, but it becomes worrying when they reside in the same head.

In March 2011, just ahead of the spring summit, nine national political leaders sent a joint letter on European growth to the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the president of the Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Together with the leaders of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden, UK prime minister David Cameron was seemingly still at that point for the integrity of the internal market and calling for forceful action to liberate the potential of the single market, with the increasingly important services markets on top:

First, we must deliver the full and untapped potential of the Single Market. The Single Market is Europe’s greatest economic achievement – the core foundation of the world’s largest economy encompassing 500 million consumers and €12 trillion of economic activity. But it is far from finished business.

Services now account for almost four fifths of our economy and yet there is much to be done to open up services markets on the scale that is needed. While significant efforts have been made to put in place the provisions of the Services Directive, many sectors still remain closed off by opaque, disproportionate and disparate regulation. Restrictive practices are rife. And implementation overall falls far short of what is needed to open up markets fairly to competition. So we must do for services markets what we have done for markets in goods – removing the restrictions that hinder access and competition, reducing the number of regulated professions, and making a firm commitment to implementation and enforcement, building on and extending the mutual evaluation process and publishing scorecards of national performance. Succeed and we could add €140 billion to the European economy. We welcome the commitment given by the Commission in its Annual Growth Survey to take action in this area and invite the Commission to report at the earliest opportunity on the steps needed to realise these gains.
Striking at the root of decades of British EEC and EU involvement at the European Council last week stunned more than the 26 heads of state or government present.

Ralf Grahn

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