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Many countries, one market - 28/10/2010

New rules for the EU's single market will make it easier to live and do business anywhere in Europe.

The single market is a cornerstone of the EU. It was set up so that people, goods, services and capital can move freely throughout the European Union.

But gaps remain between the rules and what businesses and people still face when they operate or move across borders. The commission has unveiled two sets of actions to help ensure the single market continues to improve people’s lives and make the EU economy more competitive.

The Single Market Act will simplify life for small businesses, which make up more than 99% of Europe’s companies and help fix the problems faced by people when they travel, study, work, get married, buy a house or car in another EU country.

The 50 actions on the single market include:

  • giving small businesses easier access to finance, simplifying accounting rules and improving access to public contracts
  • fostering social entrepreneurship to improve access to food, housing, health care, jobs and banking services
  • ensuring copyright holders, including artists, can sell their work throughout the EU to boost online commerce
  • cutting red tape in recognising all professional qualifications throughout the EU by introducing professional I.D. cards

Over the next three years, the second set of 25 actions will make life easier for European citizens include:

  • strengthening the rights of tourists and passengers by protecting them if their travel provider goes bankrupt, of if a flight is delayed or cancelled, for example
  • helping consumers when they have problems with a business in another country, though fast and inexpensive out-of-court settlements
  • providing international couples with guarantees about which country’s law applies to their jointly owned house or bank accounts
  • introducing an electronic exchange allowing workers to transfer their social security rights to another country
  • simplifying procedures to register a car bought in another EU country.

More on the EU single market

More on EU citizens’ rights

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