Single Market Act

On 27th October, the European Commission published proposals intended to strengthen the EU's internal market.

Published at the same time as the first EU Citizenship Report and its plans to enhance the rights of EU citizens, the draft Single Market Act sets out a series of 50 measures which, in words of the Commission, will "re-launch the Single Market" and lead to a "highly competitive social market economy with sustainable economic growth".

A four-month period of consultation has just started on the proposals. This is public consultation as well as debate in the European Parliament and discussion among the member states in the Council. The aim is to reach agreement on a final set of proposals and to start implementing these before the end of 2012.

What is the Single Market?

The Single Market, which was formally created on 1st January 1993, is the common area among the 27 EU countries where goods, services, capital and persons can circulate freely. It also provides for EU citizens to live, work, study and do business wherever they want in the EU.

Despite this, the EC believes that the Single Market "has many areas of untapped or not fully exploited potential". The proposed Single Market Act is intended to "further unlock the potential" of the market.

What is being proposed?

The 50 measures proposed are wide-ranging. They are aimed at generating sustainable business growth, "putting Europeans at the heart of the Single Market" and improving the governance of the market.

Some of them are initiatives which are underway already, such as revision of the standardisation system and reform of the professional qualifications directive (the directive providing for pan-European recognition of qualifications and the mobility of workers throughout Europe).

Other proposals include the following:

- A new white paper on transport policy.

- An action plan to improve the access of small and medium-sized businesses to capital markets.

- VAT: consultation on a review of the current system and subsequent publication of a new VAT strategy (See above).

- Further measures on the rights of passengers on public transport.

- Development of an EU patent (Member states meeting at the Competitiveness Council on 10th November failed to agree on this, the discussions continue).

- Further development of electronic commerce so as to "combat discrimination against recipients of services because of their nationality or place of residence".

Full details can be found here.

IAAPA Europe will monitor developments affecting the interests of the parks industry.