20 March, 2023

The Single Market at 30 – Tackling the EU’s Long-Term Competitiveness


Last week, the European Commission published a Communication commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Single Market and complemented this with a separate Communication setting out the Commission’s long-term view in securing Long-term competitiveness of the EU.

For the past thirty years, the Single Market has celebrated numerous achievements, faced numerous hurdles and today it continues to prevail as an instrumental part of the European Union. In a reaction to this important milestone for the European Single Market, MBB President Alison Mizzi stated that, “There is little doubt that the creation and functioning of the Single Market is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union. The implementation of the four freedoms across such a diverse market is unique and should be celebrated. While still facing numerous challenges and far from being complete, the Single Market empowers European companies to grow and be successful. It is therefore crucial that it is responsive and adaptable to ongoing challenges, including global competitiveness, geopolitical challenges, and the green and digital transitions’’.

Ms. Mizzi added, “Compliance costs and overly complex procedures particularly in the provision of services and capital markets remains prevalent. National protectionism in sectors such as road transport coupled with fragmentation or inefficiencies in other areas such as certification and labelling, do not function in the same way as a Single Market should. We augur that these issues will be truly addressed by these latest initiatives.”

30 years on, the Single Market accounts for 15% of the global GDP and is home to 23 million businesses. Considering the challenges experienced recently, including a global pandemic and a war on the EU’s doorstep, these Communications are built on a forward-looking, competitiveness, adaptability, and collective effort agenda. The latter being the crux of the EU’s plan in coordinating both businesses and policy makers to work together towards ensuring Europe’s perseverance for the next decade and beyond.

While remarking on the successes to date, including the tools and frameworks it has developed and which are key in ensuring the Single Market’s success, the 30th Anniversary Communication acknowledges the urgent need for the Single Market to become more resilient by improving its preparedness in facing current and future crises. The Communication outlines how existing Single Market rules will be enforced whilst continue working on removing barriers as well as fostering the green and digital dimensions of the Single Market.

The Communication on Long-term competitiveness of the EU: looking beyond 2030 lists 9 mutually reinforcing drivers in which the Commission will seek to build a regulatory framework. These cover themes such as environmental sustainability, resilience and stability, wellbeing and fairness, as well as productivity.

An important proposal will be the introduction of a competitiveness check that ensures that the impact assessments of legislative proposals clearly showcase the expected impacts of each proposal on cost and price competitiveness, international competitiveness and the capacity to innovate, and also on SME’s competitiveness. The MBB welcomes this proposal especially as it was an important recommendation emanating from the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The Malta Business Bureau will continue to update the local business community on the various aspects highlighted within these two Communications as well as break down the relevant initiatives and tools included in the two communications.

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