Issue 16 | October 2012

Single Market Act II: twelve priority actions for new growth

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Single Market. A lot has been achieved. For European consumers the Single Market means more choice at lower prices. For citizens, the Single Market has given them the capacity to travel freely, to settle and work where they wish. For young people it has opened the opportunity to study abroad - more than 2.5 million students have seized this opportunity in the last 25 years. For the 23 million companies in the EU the Single Market has opened up access to 500 million consumers and generated foreign investment. The message is clear, the evidence is there: a strong, deep and integrated Single Market creates growth, generates jobs and offers opportunities for European citizens which were not there 20 years ago.

The completion of the Single Market is a continuous exercise and is a central element of the European growth agenda to address the current economic crisis. This is why the European Commission has adopted Single Market Act II, putting forward twelve key actions for rapid adoption by the EU institutions. These actions are concentrated on four main drivers for growth, employment and confidence: 1) integrated networks, 2) cross border mobility of citizens and businesses, 3) the digital economy, and 4) actions that reinforce cohesion and consumer benefits.

"The single market can do more for European citizens and businesses. The Single Market Act II is a call to us, policy-makers, to get down to business, focus minds and deliver. I am convinced that the twelve key actions that we are presenting today will receive the degree of political ownership that they deserve. This is our chance to use our golden asset, the single market, to see our social market economy be competitive and thrive again."

Latest news »« TOP
Commission proposes new ECB powers for banking supervision as part of a banking union

The Commission has presented proposals for a single European supervisory mechanism, a major step to a banking union. This new system, with the European Central Bank (ECB) at the core and involving national supervisors, will restore confidence in the supervision of all banks in the euro area. Commissioner Barnier said: "Banking supervision needs to become more effective in all European countries to make sure that single market rules are applied in a consistent manner. It will be the role of the ECB to make sure that banks in the euro area stick to sound financial practices. Our ultimate aim is to stop using taxpayers' money to bail out banks".

  More information
Generation 1992 competition winners announced

20 twenty-year olds can count themselves Single Market Champions through their winning entries to the Generation 1992 competition. Live from April to September, the website www.generation1992.eu invited all twenty-year olds to enter articles, photos, videos, cartoons or smartphone apps on subjects related to the Single Market. On 15 October in Brussels, at the Single Market Week Launch event, the Generation 1992 project's 5 "gold medallists" will be invited to share their creative ideas. Commissioner Barnier and member of the European Parliament Toine Manders, will personally award them their prizes.

  See the winners

High-level Expert group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector presents its report

The Commission has received the report prepared by the High-level Expert Group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector. The Group chaired by Erkki Liikanen presented the main findings to Commissioner Barnier.

  More information
Countdown to Single Market Week under way

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Single Market. This provides the framework for a range of activities taking place in all Member States and centred on the Single Market Week for New Growth from 15 to 20 October 2012. To prepare for Single Market Week, the Commission has published a brochure entitled "20 Years of the European Single Market" and a short promotional video.

Read more:

Concessions: a clear, flexible and useful framework to improve legal certainty for companies and the services offered to European citizens

"I am convinced that, in the face of difficulties and crises, the solution is not to withdraw into nationalism or protectionism (...) The subject we are discussing today, concessions, is a perfect illustration of this." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at a debate on public service concessions organised by EurActiv.fr.

  Read the Speechfr
Social business, a platform for new growth in Europe

"The path to new growth and increased competitiveness in Europe is achieved through support to social enterprises." Speech by Commissioner Michel Barnier at the forum "Convergences 2015" in Paris.

  Read the speechfr
Visits and Missions »« TOP
Commission Barnier, Cyprus - 14 and 15 September 2012

At the invitation of the Cypriot presidency, the Commissioner had a first discussion with ministers and governors on the proposed single supervisor that was adopted on 12 September. This exchange was very useful. Ministers generally welcomed the work of the Commission which has put on the table in a few weeks a simple, clear and robust project to meet the demands of Heads of State and government. The goal is to make a more stable and stronger Eurozone by more effective supervision of the banking sector, that is to say not being done on a national basis but in a European context. The ECB will be the keystone of this new system, based on the resources and expertise of national supervisors. Naturally, this project will not challenge the single market in financial services since the same rules apply to the twenty seven member states.

Commissioner Barnier, European Parliament – 11 and 12 September 2012

Commissioner Barnier participated in the first autumn plenary session of the European Parliament on 11th and 12th of September. The main event of the plenary was the State of the Union address by President Barroso, with the attendance of all Commissioners. The speech covered in particular the forthcoming set of measures to foster growth and jobs, namely the Single Market Act II, as well as the new proposal on banking union.. A joint debate on Venture-Capital and Social Entrepreneurship Funds was held on the evening of the 12th, with Commissioner De Gucht replacing Commissioner Barnier. The debate did not manage to reach an agreement on the sensitive issue of tax havens, and the negotiations are still ongoing between the three institutions. On Thursday 13th, the MEPs debated with appointed Commissioner Dalli on the adoption of the new directive on orphan works. This debate led to the final adoption of the directive by the EP, in first reading. Commissioner Barnier also held various bilateral meetings with MEPs, both on single market and financial sector issues.

Consultations »« TOP
  02.10.2012  -  13.11.2012BankingConsultation on the recommendations of the High-level Expert Group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector

  05.10.2012  -  28.12.2012Financial ServicesConsultation on a possible framework for the recovery and resolution of nonbank financial institutions

  05.09.2012  -  29.11.2012Financial Markets InfrastructureConsultation Document on the Regulation of Indices

  26.07.2012  -  18.10.2012Investment FundsUndertakings for collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) - Product Rules, Liquidity Management, Depositary, Money Market Funds, Long-term Investments

News from the Parliament »« TOP
Strasbourg plenary week (September 10 - 15 2012)
  • State of the Union – Statement by the President of the Commission
    On Wednesday 12 September, President Barroso pronounced his annual speech on the State of the Union. Beyond the announcement of his political priorities for the coming months, his intervention was a major plea for a step further towards the political integration of the EU, along with tightened economic solidarity.
  • Proposals for a European banking union (EBU)
    After the announcements made by President Barroso in the morning and the formal adoption of the proposal by the College, a debate was held in the chamber with the deputies, on the basis of an Oral Question submitted by Sharon Bowles (ALDE, UK). Commissioner Barnier then presented the project and the relationship between supervision and regulation aspects - the single rule book. Several members welcomed the initiative, while issuing for some reservations about the details.
  • Joint debate - Social entrepreneurship and venture capital funds
    The MEPs held a joint debate on two reports on key initiatives to sustain SMEs access to finance. The MEPs decided the next day not to vote on an EP resolution but only on a modified proposal of the reports, so as to keep the discussions opened, notably with the Council. On these files, the Commission aims at resuming sensitive discussions with the Council to find a final compromise very shortly, including on the sensitive issue of tax havens. The Commission stands ready to help bring about such a solution. Philippe Lamberts (rapporteur on the venture capital fund) acknowledged the Commission's effort to broker yet another compromise between co-legislators, but stressed that Council has to make the first move. He remained adamant that Council cannot renege on agreements reached in trilogue.
  • Permitted uses of orphan works
    The Orphan Works Directive was approved in first reading by the plenary of the European Parliament on 13 September [531 in favour, 11 against, 65 abstentions]. The Directive will now go back to the Council for its final adoption (should be a simple formality). It will enter into force by the end of the year. In a debate on the same day, the rapporteur Ms Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D, PL) summarized the main features of the directive and stressed its importance as an innovative tool to allow cultural dissemination and modernise the EU copyright framework.

See also:
  Website: IMCO (Internal Market Committee)
  Website ECON (Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee)

For your diary »Latest publications »Question of the Month »
  10 October 2012
Online debate on the Single Market

  from 15 to 20 October 2012
Single Market Week

  15 October 2012
Single Market Week Launch Event

20 Years of the European Single Market

Single Market News
Issue 63 (2012-I)

Making the Single Market deliver: Annual governance check-up 2011

Single Market Act - Together for new growth

Restoring the health and stability of the EU financial sector

Do you agree that the package for banking supervision in the Eurozone proposed by the Commission was necessary?


Results from the last month:
Do you agree with the new rules the European Commission has proposed to modernise the transparency and efficiency of collecting societies?
YES - 75%
NO - 25%

Subscribe to Single Market Monthly