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The external dimension

Completing the Internal Market is not merely an inward-looking exercise. For the Internal Market to function properly, its principles must also be adequately reflected in international relations touching upon Internal Market policies.

Simple examples will illustrate this need: many EU financial institutions operate on a global scale and significant differences between the respective Internal Market principles and the third country rules can negatively affect their international operations; the need for adequate protection of copyright or patents on European products does not stop at the EU border; and the protection of personal data remains an issue where it leaves the Internal Market.

Virtually all Internal Market policies carry to some degree an “international dimension”: financial services, intellectual property, public procurement, postal services, professional services, company law, accounting and auditing rules, money laundering and data protection – to name some examples.

All these policies, including the underlying Internal Market principles, need adequate and consistent consideration in the negotiation of international agreements, notably in the context of enlargement, in regulatory dialogues with third countries and in all the other international fora where the Commission takes a position on Internal Market policies, whether bilateral or multilateral. In all these negotiations the services of the Commission responsible for the Internal Market cooperate with the services in charge of other policies – notably the Commission departments dealing with trade and external relations – to adequately represent and promote the principles of the European Internal Market world-wide.