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The European Single Market

The Single Market refers to the EU as one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. A functioning Single Market stimulates competition and trade, improves efficiency, raises quality, and helps cut prices. The European Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. It has fuelled economic growth and made the everyday life of European businesses and consumers easier.

In the spotlight: The Single Market Strategy

On 28 October 2015, the European Commission presented a new Single Market Strategy to deliver a deeper and fairer Single Market that will benefit both consumers and businesses. In 2016, the Commission will take measures to:

  • modernise our standards system
  • strengthen the single market for goods
  • reduce barriers in key sectors such as business services, construction and retail
  • prevent discrimination against consumers based on nationality or place of residence
  • strengthen preventive enforcement by reforming the notification procedure
  • enable the balanced development of the collaborative economy.

The full Single Market Strategy and underlying analysis are now available. See the communicationpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (458 kB), staff working documentpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (2 MB), press release, fact sheetpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (266 kB) and supporting economic analysis for more information.

The main objectives of the Single Market

The Commission’s main objective is to improve the functioning of the Single Market by:

  • providing a regulatory framework that fosters the free movement of goods and the free movement of services, and enhances competitiveness;
  • removing existing barriers to intra-EU trade and preventing the creation of new ones;
  • promoting a business and consumer-friendly environment based on transparent, simple, and consistent rules offering legal certainty and clarity.

What the Commission does:

On this website

Single Market for goods

The EU Single Market accounts for 500 million consumers and 21 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Learn more about the building blocks of the single market, the New Approach legislation, harmonised and non-harmonised sectors, and the international dimension in the Single market for goods section.

Single market for Services

Services are crucial to the Single Market. They account for over 70% of all economic activity in the EU and a similar proportion of its employment. EU companies have the freedom to establish themselves in other EU countries and the freedom to provide services in countries other than the one in which they are established. Learn more about the EU’s Services Directive, the free movement of professionals, postal services, retail, and other topics in the Single market for services section.


Standards are documents setting out requirements for specific items, materials, components, systems, or services. These voluntary technical specifications help reduce costs, improve safety, and enhance competition, and the acceptance of innovations. Learn more in the Standardisation section.

Public procurement

Public procurement is the acquisition of goods and services by public authorities such as national, regional, or municipal governments. The EU works to ensure that public procurement is fair, competitive, and conducive to the Single Market. Learn more about EU rules for contracting authorities and other aspects in the Public procurement section.