The Recommendation on “Measures to improve the functioning of the Single Market” (the “Partnerships Recommendation”)
The Recommendation is one of the follow-up measures, and a direct response, to the Single Market Review (see below), which called for closer partnerships amongst Member States, and with the Commission. The objective is to make the Single Market work better on the ground.
It encourages Member States to assume a more pro-active role in managing the Single Market and to take ownership of a set of practical measures designed to improve the functioning of the Single Market at national, regional and local levels. These measures include for instance, making practical information on opportunities in other EU countries easily available; improving cooperation between national authorities; and strengthening the transposition, application and enforcement of Single Market rules on the ground.
The recommendations stem from research undertaken with Member States during 2008 and in many cases draw closely on good practices that have proved to work well in some Member States.
In addition, the Commission services drew up two Staff Working Documents, to provide information about the activities undertaken by the Commission to support Member States:
A non-exhaustive list of such networks with links and short descriptions is also available on the following link:
The November 2007 Single Market Review (see below) put consumers and SMEs at the centre of policy-making and set out a new approach to the Single Market policy. A progress report published on 16 December 2008 sets out how the Commission has implemented the new vision for the single market of the 21st century. It also demonstrates the relevance of Single Market policy in the current economic situation and outlines a series of measures that have already been taken or are in the pipeline, which will help create the conditions to relaunch the European economy.
On 10 May 2006 the Commission adopted a Communication “A Citizens’ Agenda – delivering results for Europe”. This agenda sets out various policy initiatives in response to issues raised by citizens with an aim to strengthen their confidence in Europe. It focuses on fields such as economic integration; solidarity, access and sustainability; security; EU’s enlargement and external relations policies; as well as better regulation and institutional issues. One of the major initiatives set out by the Citizens’ Agenda is a fundamental and forward looking review of the Single Market.
Initiated in 2006, this review has resulted in a Communication on “A Single Market for 21st century Europe”, adopted by the Commission on 20 November 2007. This communication transforms the "Interim Report" of February 2007 into an operational set of initiatives to re-position the Single Market. It is accompanied by a communication on services of general interest, including social services of general interest and a paper presenting a new ’social vision’. The Single Market review package is further supported by staff working papers, which provide more detailed information on how the Commission intends to modernize Single Market policy.
On 11 April 2006, the Directorate General for Internal Market and Services launched a public consultation on the future of the Internal Market ( ). This was to stimulate an open public debate across all stakeholders: citizens, business, representative organisations and public administrations, as well as academia and think-tanks. This public consultation is an essential part of the Commission’s reflections on how to take Single Market policy forward. The public consultation document provided an initial assessment of the state of the Single Market and discussed following future policy priorities:
Press Release (20.4.2006)
The report on the public consultation aims to provide an accurate summary of the views presented by the respondents, without trying to be a statistically representative survey. Most replies were received by mid-July 2006. They cover a broad spectrum of Single Market policy issues, from a wide range of stakeholders. Out of 1514 replies, 1272 were identical (“standard”) responses from trade unions and citizens, whereas other 242 were distinct replies, sent in mainly by representative organisations, but also by Member States and public sector, academia, as well as individual businesses and citizens.
The results of the public consultation will feed into the fundamental review of the Single Market and the report on the Single Market in the 21st century, called for by the “A Citizens’ Agenda” Communication.
Please note that the answers to the questions addressed to the Commission by the audience will be published shortly on this site.
Bruegel – DG Internal Market seminar “The economic policy for the Single Market of the future” on 16 January 2007
This seminar was organised jointly by DG Internal Market and Bruegel Institute. It aimed to contribute to the Commission’s Single Market Review by providing an economic analysis of the Single Market. More specifically, the seminar focused on how the Single Market could best respond to the changed economic context and whether the economic rationale and policies seen as appropriate in the context of the Single Market Programme in the 1980s and 1990s were still valid today. The speakers included academics specialising in Single Market, integration and trade policies and practitioners with experience in specific fields of financial services, intellectual property rights and competition.
3 Eurobarometer surveys have been recently conducted on the EU Citizens’ and Businesses’ opinions on and experiences with Internal Market Policy:
DG Economic and Financial Affairs’ economic paper “Steps towards a deeper economic integration: the internal market in the 21st century”, January 2007