The single market is a key tool for reigniting economic growth and job creation in the EU. More than 20 years after its official creation, the single market framework is still fragmented, in particular because the Member States have not fully transposed or correctly implemented EU legislation.
The forthcoming internal market strategy should be aimed at improving single market regulation through an effort to learn from the experiences of the past in the areas of free movement of goods and services, the digital single market, professional qualifications and public procurement. Specific tools should be strengthened, revised or better promoted in order to make a positive contribution to providing a competitive regulatory environment for EU businesses, supporting growth and job creation, and enhancing consumers’ trust in European legislation. There is a lack of sufficient indicators and data for measuring successful implementation of legislation in different areas of the single market.
Improving single market regulation should be both a priority and a shared responsibility of the EU institutions. Specific indicators for measuring the success of relevant legislation should be included right from the initial impact assessment and used throughout the whole policy cycle, including the implementation of the legislation when it enters into force. The principle of subsidiarity must represent the starting point for policy formulation, so as to underline ‘European added value’ in the governance of the single market. The deadlines associated with the subsidiarity mechanism do not always provide adequate time for parliaments to consider in detail aspects of implementation, coherence with existing legislation, and other practical matters; parliaments themselves could play a more active role, particularly in consultation processes. The institutions should jointly undertake to ensure that the principle of proportionality is reflected in the drafting of the relevant legislation. Single market regulation should take into account the new opportunities afforded by the digital revolution and should be fully compatible with the e-government dimension.
EU parliament underlines (de) the need for closer cooperation between single market governance tools that receive consumer complaints about traders breaching EU legislation and national enforcement bodies via formal procedures and improved data sharing. Member States have an equal responsibility to enforce EU law, and should ensure effective and efficient enforcement in order to uphold consumer rights and create a level playing field for businesses throughout Europe. Market surveillance tools should be used in conjunction with single market tools to strengthen the enforcement of EU law. National authorities do not always make correct use of the Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance (ICSMS), or fail to take the necessary measures in a timely fashion.
Analysis should be improved as to whether the legislative steps taken so far have contributed effectively to achieving their aim and are consistent with current policy goals. A rolling target for administrative and regulatory burden reduction can make a positive contribution to ensuring that aims are met in the most efficient way possible and with the least possible cost to people and businesses.
Improving single market regulation does not mean removing all regulation or diminishing the level of ambition of regulation, for instance in terms of environmental protection, safety, security, consumer protection and social standards, but rather means removing unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and negative impacts while achieving policy objectives and delivering a competitive regulatory environment that supports employment and enterprise within Europe. Single market that does not overburden or frustrate production, innovation and commerce is a tool that will bring back to Europe jobs and growth that would previously have been located elsewhere.