This exploratory opinion of the incoming Croatian Presidency should concentrate on the question, how the achievements and advantages of the Single Market could be better presented to the citizens and businesses in order to ensure their support in further efforts towards developing a comprehensive and long-term Single Market strategy for the future.
Single Market Enforcement Action Plan - Related Opinions
This opinion aims to identify the barriers, key success factors and solutions for creating a truly innovative business climate to capture the solutions provided by new economic models.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's strong message on reinforcing the Single Market and the need for commitment from all Member States and citizens. The EESC calls for a Single Market that must be perceived as an opportunity to reassert European values, fundamental rights and duties to achieve progress and welfare for all Member States and citizens. Values like liberty, economic growth, democracy, peace, science and innovation, political stability, consumers and social rights must be present in citizens' mindset as a result of a process that started 60 years ago.
The EESC welcomes in principle the integration of five predecessor programmes (and of the European Statistical Programme, though that extends beyond the scope of the single market) and a number of budget headings into a single market programme, as it can be expected to produce synergies and improve cost efficiency. Due to steadily increasing volume of work in consumer protection policy EESC urges the Commission to further develop cooperation with consumer networks and organisations and to increase funding for consumer protection. It is also concerned that the negotiations on the EU financial framework could result in cuts and thus in a lower budget than in the past.
Since the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy in May 2015, the Commission has delivered on all key measures and presented 35 proposals in total. The Commission calls for swift co-legislative agreements and for all parties to ensure that the measures proposed are rapidly adopted and implemented to allow people and businesses in the EU to fully benefit from a functional Digital Single Market. With the DSM's results among the more tangible for EU citizens, the EESC is particularly interested in the impact on consumers.
The Single Market is coming under growing pressure, partly due to short-sighted national interests, with a significant part of the population increasingly calling it into question. Unnecessary obstacles such as insufficient recognition of qualifications and diplomas, technical constraints at local level, regulatory obstacles due to differences in national legislation and inadequate coordination of e-government solutions at EU level, must be removed to ensure growth, jobs, long-term prosperity.
The EESC believes that the Commission has paid too little attention to the unintended negative side-effects of the Single Market. The consequence could be a further undermining of the Single Market rather than a new dynamic. The Commission should demonstrate a more realistic approach by communicating in a well-balanced tone. In addition to key actions the EU and the Member States must step up their efforts to overcome the financial, economic and budgetary crisis and to release the full potential of the Single Market. The EESC would very much welcome the fast application of the measures proposed in the Communication on the Governance of the Single Market to improve the overall implementation of EU rules.