Sunday 19 March 2017

Single Market Act in Competitiveness Council

After the blog posts presenting the Single Market Act SMA and the promised main proposals listed in Twelve Single Market key actions, we return to the follow-up of the (first) Single Market Act (SMA), published by the European Commission in April 2011.  

Competitiveness Council
We take a quick look in the rear-view mirror on the Competitiveness Council 30 May 2011 and the European Council (EUCO) 23 to 24 June 2011 through the blog post European Council on growth and jobs, before heading back to the Council conclusions:

Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space); Brussels, 30 and 31 May 2011; document 10547/11

Here we are interested in the general conclusions on the Single Market Act (page 8):

Single Market Act - Council conclusions

The Council held a debate and adopted conclusions on the implementation of the "Single Market Act" (SMA), which is a two-year plan (2011-2012) of 50 initiatives aimed at ensuring continuous optimisation of the internal market and contributing to the successful implementation of the Europe 2020 objectives on stimulating employment and economic growth (13977/1/10).

In the light of the outcome of a public consultation, the Commission submitted on 13 April 2011 a communication identifying the 12 levers that can best contribute to tapping the single market's potential for growth and employment. Moreover, the communication sets out a timetable for the adoption of each lever (9283/11).

The 12 levers for growth and social progress include actions in the areas of workers' mobility, financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, consumer protection, the digital single market, energy taxation and trans-European networks.

Among other things, the conclusions invite the Commission to put forward all these key actions before the end of 2011 and calls on all actors to commit themselves to adopting a first set of priority measures to give a new impetus to the single market by 2012.


Because the language of the two first paragraphs was a little vague, I want to clarify the exact references:

The first document number 13977/1/10 REV 1 (en) referred to the new English version of Commission consultation paper, the communication Towards a Single Market Act COM (2010) 608 final.
The second document mentioned 9283/11 referred to Single Market Act COM(2011) 206 final, the SMA proper, published 13 April 2011.

Specific SMA conclusions

The document 10993/11 referred to the specific and quite detailed Competition Council conclusions on the Priorities for Relaunching the Single Market adopted by the Council of 30 May 2011 (10 pages).

I am going to take just a few picks.

The Council stressed the need to further enhance the coherence and complementarities between the internal and international trade (policies) of the European Union (page 5).

The ministers underlined the key role the single market has to play in delivering growth and employment and promoting competitiveness. They made a clear reference to the union’s Article 3(3) TEU social market economy goal, when they mentioned that the Single Market must rest upon a strong economic and social basis with a view to building a highly competitive social market economy (page 5).

The conclusions went on to dedicate a paragraph to each of the SMA key actions, offering varying degrees of support: from enthusiastic to a promise to give due consideration to a coming proposal.

In the world of administration, even more so at a more complex international level, the machinery requires constant attention and perfecting (page 9):

17. UNDERLINES the importance of strengthening governance of the Single Market thus ensuring a level playing field for all in the Single Market through effective, efficient and uniform enforcement of Single Market rules; in this respect:

- INVITES the Commission to continue the work on the governance aspects of the Single Market;
- CALLS ON the Member States to fully implement Single Market rules including the Services Directive;
- UNDERLINES the importance of the SOLVIT and IMI systems;
- furthermore COMMITS ITSELF, and INVITES the European Parliament and the Commission to avoid creating unnecessary burdens in legislative proposals in general;

The Competitiveness Council, having urged the Commission to submit on a yearly basis a progress report on implementation, could not wait to get its hands on the proposals (page 9):

19. INVITES the Commission to put forward all key action proposals as soon as possible but before the end of 2011 and in line with the timing put forward in the Single Market Act so as to facilitate their full consideration within the deadlines proposed, whilst ensuring they take full account of the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity;

Finally, the Council started looking towards a second Single Market Act (SMA II) (page 10):

22. INVITES the Commission to take stock of the progress achieved, to conduct a comprehensive economic study to identify specific areas with untapped growth potential and to launch a new stage in the development of the Single Market by the end of 2012 with the aim of further deepening it.

So far, so good.

Ralf Grahn

General sources:

General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2011 (An open and fair internal market, legislative proposals listed on page 46, text on pages 45-)

Regeringens skrivelse 2011/12:105 Ber├Ąttelse om verksamheten i Europeiska unionen under 2011 (Den inre marknadens utveckling etc., pages 166-178)

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