"Achieving sustainable growth in a competitive world is challenging. The challenge is even greater for the European Union, as the Old Continent faces a severe competitiveness deficit. Without entering into a health review, that could be delivered at a further stage, of each of the 28 Member States, the ambition of this study is to draw-up a comprehensive picture of EU economic growth.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for governance improvements in the internal market with a view to removing bureaucratic hurdles for business. Its conclusion is that the European Commission, although active in cutting red tape in EU legislation, is not intervening yet in the case of gold-plating, which is over-compliance at the national/regional/local level. A key problem with gold-plating is precisely its tendency to overlap across multiple layers of competence. Gold-plating does happen and in certain cases undermines European competitiveness.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy. According to Commission estimates, the overall contribution of SMEs to EU-27 value added was more than 57% (EUR 3.4 trillion) in 2012. Although the role of SMEs in the EU economy is crucial and their well being should be a priority for European policymakers, they struggle with access to finance, especially in the countries severely hit by the crisis. The Greek experience can and should be taken as a case study and conclusions drawn on how to improve the system for the future.
In 2004 the European Union experienced its biggest enlargement so far, welcoming 10 new Member States. A decade later, members of the Employers' Group representing employers' organisations from these countries summarise the changes that have taken place thanks to accession to the EU.
The pilot study on "The workings of the Services Directive in the construction sector" carried out by the Single Market Observatory (SMO) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) was presented at the EESC Plenary on 30 April 2014.
The report in all languages, a short video presentation by Mr Siecker, president of the Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT), the preliminary evaluation of the replies to the questionnaire and the staff working paper are available on our website:
Completion of the Single Market is one element necessary for the European venture to succeed. The EESC has a key role to play here, for the good of both consumers and business. To this end, the EESC set up a Single Market Observatory (SMO) in 1994, with the support of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. The SMO is made up of 33 members representing European civil society organisations. Its aim is to monitor how the Single Market operates in practice, identify where the problems are and help legislators remedy existing shortcomings.