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 Communication - Related Opinions
The annual Union work programme for European standardisation for 2020 identifies priorities for European standardisation. It sets out the specific objectives and policies for European standards and standardisation deliverables in the coming period and lists the type of actions the Commission intends to take. These actions on European standardisation are embedded in Union policies, such as the digital and single markets, energy efficiency & climate and international trade. Standards support these policies to ensure that European products and services are competitive worldwide and reflect state-of-the-art safety, security, health and environmental considerations. The work programme also outlines the actions that the Commission intends to initiate during 2020 to improve the governance, inclusiveness and international impact of the European standardisation system (ESS).
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.
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.