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No 2 (February 96/Février 96/Februar 96)
In 1995 we have seen steady progress towards the achievement of the Single Market. But, as the Commission's report to the Madrid European Council on the Internal Market in 1995 pointed out (summarized in the Special Insert of this edition), we still have major tasks ahead.
The Commission's first priority is the completion of the legislative framework for the Single Market. For example, we must work for the adoption of the European Company Statute, which would facilitate companies' cross-border activities and help European companies to save about 30 billion ECU a year, according to the first Ciampi Report. The adoption of the new Directive on the protection of biotechnological inventions is also essential for the competitiveness of our industry. We must do our best to make sure that citizens and business can make full and effective use of the rights that have been created under Single Market law. In particular, DG XV will be under pressure to deal quickly and efficiently with concrete problems that arise (both by improving co-operation between national administrations and by ensuring the quality and conformity of Member States' transposition of Directives).
The economists of DG XV will also be very busy with the practical implications of the moves toward the single currency without which the full benefits of the Single Market will not be realized. The result of the economic review of the impact of the Single Market, due to be published in the second half of 1996, will constitute a sound basis for fine-tuning the existing framework of Single Market rules.
As you know, the Commission has put the citizen at the heart of its actions. DG XV has a crucial role to play in delivering a Single Market which benefits the citizen to the full. For example, we will be pressing for rapid adoption of the proposals to remove frontiers controls on people and will launch the "Citizens First" initiative.
Another challenge ahead of us is to ensure that the Single Market regulatory environment can keep pace with technological progress, such as the advent of the Information Society. We have to adapt the existing rules where necessary (for example, in the area of data protection specific rules are needed to protect personal data and privacy for mobile communications) and we must reflect on the new rules (in the area of pluralism and media concentration, commercial communications or protection of encrypted signals) which might be necessary to ensure the free movement of services in the Information Society.
Last but by no means least, as the Union is now committed to enlargement, our challenge is to prepare for the successful integration of the Associated Countries of Central and Eastern Europe into the Single Market. An Office designed to supply these countries with technical assistance opened its doors for business in Brussels on 10 January 1996.
As you can see, a lot has still to be done in 1996. We will keep you informed of progress on all these subjects and try to make sure that Single Market News will satisfy your hunger for information without giving you indigestion! Your suggestions for improvements are, as always, most welcome.