In this forum, the European Commission and EU country authorities discuss the most pressing single market barriers needing to be addressed and ensure the proper functioning of the single market, including by better coordinating national responses to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Single Market Enforcement Task Force (SMET) was set up under by the Action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules adopted in March 2020 as part of the European industrial strategy.
As a high-level forum where the Commission and EU countries work together, SMET is best placed to identify how to deal with barriers, jointly devise and implement solutions, ensure a consistent approach and act rapidly.
SMET’s objective is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the single market. The task force's guiding principle is its focus on the single market
By fostering a constructive dialogue and cooperation, in equal partnership between the Commission and EU country authorities, SMET allows its members to work together with joint responsibility for the deliverables.
SMET will regularly inform the Competiveness Council and the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on the progress made.
SMET is composed of EU countries and of the Commission. EU countries have nominated a SMET contact point from the competent national authorities with direct responsibility for single market issues, in the majority of the cases the ministries for economic affairs.
On 7 April 2020 the Commission convened the first meeting to discuss how to better coordinate national responses to the Coronavirus outbreak, ensure the good functioning of the single market and allow the free flow of goods across European borders.
On 9 June 2020, the Commission invited SMET members to identify the most important single market barriers. Barriers linked to services, obstacles to the free movement of goods, the need to improve existing problem-solving tools for business and fragmentation of EU legislation were flagged.
On 21 September 2020, the discussion focused on actions to tackle some of the top barriers identified in the Single Market Barriers Report, matching those raised by SMET members in previous meetings.
On 29 January 2021, the Commission proposed five pilot projects concerning: the elimination of the remaining COVID-19 related barriers in the agri-food sector, the posting of workers, certification in construction, and the free movement of professional services. SMET concluded that the barriers presented and discussed should be addressed as priority.
On 19 February 2021, the Commission called an emergency meeting in the context of travel restrictions and newly introduced controls of internal borders that EU members put in place to deal with the increasingly difficult epidemiological situation. The Commission highlighted the need for EU countries to ensure that the newly introduced measures do not harm the single market more than is strictly necessary.
On 11 May 2021, the task force discussed the first steps taken to remove obstacles in the area of cross-border restrictions for professionals and to prevent discriminatory practices in the agri-food sector, including by means of various possibilities to support farmers and short supply chains in line with EU rules. The meeting was also an opportunity for the Commission to present the recently adopted EU industrial strategy update to the task force members.
On 12 July 2021, the task force discussed progress on the work of removing some of the most pressing and long-standing barriers in the single market to ensure its proper functioning in supporting recovery and the digital and green transitions. The task force will report to the Competitiveness Council in the second half of the year.
SMET secretariat: GROW-SMET-SECRETARIAT@ec.europa.eu