The Single Market Act II includes the following actions:
Transport and energy networks: efficient and fully integrated transport and energy networks are the backbone of the single market. The opportunities offered by cohesion and structural funds must be accompanied by a firm commitment towards competition, choice and good quality services across the EU. To realise this vision, the Single Market Act II includes:
(i) an action to open the provision of domestic rail passenger services to further intra-EU competition
(ii) the improvement of a single market for maritime transport
(iii) measures to accelerate the Single European Sky
(iv) actions to make the application of existing EU energy legislation effective.
Citizen and business mobility: free movement across borders is at the very basis of a single market and one of the foundations of the European Union. Practical and legal barriers to the mobility of citizens, business activities and investment funding still persist however. With the Single Market Act II, the Commission is therefore proposing to:
(i) develop the EURES portal into a fully-fledged cross-border job placement and recruitment tool
(ii) introduce provisions to mobilise long-term investment funds for private companies and long-term projects
(iii) modernise insolvency proceedings, starting with cross-border cases, and contribute to an environment that offers second chances to failing entrepreneurs.
The digital economy: with its economic weight and important spill-over effects, for example in terms of productivity and resolving societal challenges, the digital economy revolution remains an opportunity that cannot be missed. Working towards the completion of the digital single market by 2015, the Commission proposes to:
(i) facilitate e-commerce in the EU by making payment services easier to use, more trustworthy and competitive
(ii) address a key underlying cause of lack of investment in high speed broadband connection, i.e. its civil engineering costs
(iii) make electronic invoicing standard in public procurement procedures – a proven money-saver.
Social entrepreneurship, cohesion and consumer confidence: the success of the single market is also a result of the economic and social participation it can generate. Consumers need to be confident and all citizens, everywhere in the EU, must have the chance to tap into the opportunities the single market offers. The Commission intends to pursue this objective by using concrete internal market tools, including:
(i) improvement of product safety rules and their actual enforcement
(ii) measures to ensure widespread access to bank accounts, as well as transparent and comparable account fees and easier bank account switching.
What are the next steps?
- Online Google debate on the Single Market on 10 October
- Single Market Week, 15-20 October 2012
- The Commission will put forward all key legislative proposals of the Single Market Act II by spring 2013 and the non-legislative ones by end 2013.
- The European Parliament and Council are called upon to adopt legislative proposals as a matter of priority by spring 2014.