Saturday 1 April 2017

Second Single Market integration report 2014

The second Annual Growth Survey (AGS) related report on the state of single market integration, for 2014, came under a slightly different name than the first one, presented in the blog post Single Market integration 2013 report:

A Single Market for Growth and Jobs: an analysis of progress made and remaining obstacles in the member states - Contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2014; Brussels, 13.11.2013 COM(2013) 785 final (24 pages)   

The Commission started by underlining the need for deep structural reforms in Europe.  It recalled the proposals at EU level, but quickly brought on the need for internal market rules to work in practice (page 1):

The Single Market Acts I and II lay down a set of legislative proposals and other measures to boost growth and employment in Europe. The Commission has also issued recent proposals to further complete the digital Single Market. Swift adoption of all remaining proposals is needed to effectively unlock the full potential of the Single Market and make the Single Market fit for the 21st century.

For the Single Market to function well however, reforming the EU legislative framework is not sufficient. For citizens, consumers and businesses to effectively reap the benefits of the Single Market, rules must work in practice. Vigorous and consistent efforts are needed to ensure that markets function well and remaining barriers are lifted.

The aim of the report on single market integration was then presented, the focus shifting to the internal market reforms in the member states, where businesses and consumers feel the effects of obstacles (page 1):

This report aims at reviewing in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy the way the Single Market functions within the various Member States. It takes stock of where progress has been made since the start of the crisis and seeks to identify where bottlenecks remain and defines a set of policy priorities on that basis. The report thus contributes to the overall priorities set in the Commission's Annual Growth Survey 2014, and to the further identification of country-specific recommendations in the context of the European semester.

As in the first report on single market integration (for 2013), the second report (for 2014) focussed on key areas with the greatest growth potential: services, networks and the digital economy (page 1). These were discussed in the first part of the report, supported by studies about market performance and obstacle to EU integration. Each section was concluded by policy priorities:

  • Services markets (pages 3-7)
  • Financial services (pages 7-12)
  • Energy markets (pages 12-14)
  • Transport markets (pages 14-17)
  • Digital markets (pages 18-21)

The second part of the report dealt with  the state of single market integration, based on an analysis of value chains, i.e. the supply and purchase of production inputs (pages 21-23), followed by a one page annex with an internal market enforcement table (page 24).

Competitiveness Council

The Competitiveness Council (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) 2 and 3 December 2013 17141/1/13 REV 1 debated the European Semester 2014: industrial policy, single market and smart regulation (pages 10-11). With regard to the single market:

The Council adopted conclusions addressing three main strands that will lead to a better functioning internal market: governance of the single market; steps to unlock the full potential of the services sector and action to promote the transition to electronic procurement (16443/13).

Furthermore, the Commission presented the second edition of the annual "Single Market integration" report (16171/13).

The Council Conclusions on Single Market Policy 16443/13 started by emphasising single market governance. The Council greeted the single market integration report, but also wished for future improvements:

1. REITERATES that urgent measures are needed at the level of EU and Member States in order to boost growth and jobs and make Europe more competitive as a location for production and investment. RECOGNISES that deepening the Single Market by removing remaining unjustified barriers will be a key factor in order to achieve these objectives; HIGHLIGHTS the importance of streamlining existing structures in order to increase visibility and effectiveness of the Single Market policy.

2. WELCOMES the Annual Growth Survey and the second Annual Commission Report on the state of Single Market integration, and LOOKS FORWARD to a discussion on the policy priorities set out therein for both EU and Member State action.

3. AGREES that the results of the Annual Report should be fed into the European Semester process on a regular basis, both at EU and at Member State level. RECOGNISES the need for a stronger role of the High Level Group on Competitiveness and Growth in monitoring and providing guidance in that regard.  

4. NOTES that the analytical framework used as a basis for the Annual Report can still be strengthened with a view to getting a more comprehensive and operational picture as regards the functioning of the Single Market, including the application of its legal framework in the priority sectors for growth and jobs, and allowing for more evidence-based policy conclusions. INVITES the Commission to deepen the evidence base by also taking into account the perspective of businesses, in particular SMEs, and consumers.

5. WELCOMES the new online Single Market Scoreboard as a useful tool to monitor the application of EU law. INVITES the Commission together with Member States to put forward by the end of 2014, based on currently existing sources and data available to the Commission, a set of qualitative and quantitative indicators aimed at measuring inter alia the economic effects of application of the Single Market rules.

6. URGES Member States to properly and timely implement and enforce the rules of the Single Market so as to further unlock its growth potential. CALLS UPON the Commission for systematic monitoring of implementation and better enforcement of the Single Market rules, inter alia through the Country Specific Recommendations under the European Semester, in particular where those rules provide a significant contribution to the structural reforms.

7. HIGHLIGHTS the responsibility of the co-legislators and the Commission to ensure, throughout the legislative process, the consistency and quality of the EU legal framework without unnecessary regulatory burdens. The latter should be designed to enable businesses to sell goods and provide services everywhere in the EU, including online, without unjustified or disproportionate barriers. It should allow consumers to have access to the widest possible choice, whilst benefiting from a high level of consumer protection

European Parliament
In the European Parliament, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati prepared a report for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2014 A7-0066/2014, which recalled that the IMCO Committee had drafted a legislative own-initiative report aimed at strengthening the governance of the Single Market so as to improve its functioning and contribute to driving forward the economic growth and job creation in Europe. A resolution with specific recommendations to the Commission was adopted in plenary on 7 February 2013.
[I mentioned the Andreas Schwab report A7-0019/2013 and the EP resolution P7_TA(2013)0054 with recommendations to the Commission on the governance of the Single Market in the Grahnlaw blog entry Single Market integration 2013 report and presented it in Swedish in the Grahnblawg post Europaparlamentet om styrningen av den inre marknaden.]

The European Parliament resolution of 25 February 2014 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2014 P7_TA(2014)0130:

  • welcomed improvements made between the Commission’s first and second report on single market integration, but
  • called for further improvements, with regard to the Single Market as the third pillar of the European Semester,
  • considered that key sectors identified by the Commission – services, financial services, transport, energy and the digital market – remained decisive, but
  • also called for  a genuine European industrial policy, and
  • found that the Commission had made improvements of the kind the Parliament had called for in its 7 February 2013 resolution.

Ralf Grahn

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