Re-launching the Single Market - European Union Committee Contents

Re-launching the Single Market

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

1.  In October 2009, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, asked Professor Mario Monti[1] to investigate options for the re-launch of the Single Market. After conducting a wide-ranging inquiry and engaging with a number of stakeholders, his report, A New Strategy for the Single Market ("the Monti Report"),[2] was published in May 2010. It concluded that the Single Market was still characterised by a high number of bottlenecks and missing links and set out a number of ways of addressing those gaps, together with ways to enforce the laws underpinning it. Professor Monti argued that re-launching the Single Market would need both regulatory and non-regulatory reforms and observed that the Single Market was suffering from a mixture of "integration fatigue" and "market fatigue", with a reduced confidence in the role of the Single Market. As a result of his recommendations, Professor Monti hoped that the Single Market could be revitalised as a means of creating growth in the European Union, thereby re-establishing trust and popular support for it among businesses and citizens.

2.  Shortly after the publication of the Monti Report, the European Parliament also adopted a report by the Rapporteur, Louis Grech MEP, on the Single Market.[3]

3.  In response to the Monti Report, on 27 October 2010, the Commission published a Communication, Towards a Single Market Act[4], containing 50 proposals to improve and deepen the Single Market, which it hopes will be implemented by 2012 as a way of "celebrating" its twentieth anniversary. It also hopes that by releasing the Single Market's remaining "untapped potential" the Act will help the EU to recover from the financial crisis and result in total extra growth of approximately 4 per cent GDP over the next ten years.[5]

4.  This Committee launched its inquiry after the publication of the Monti Report in July 2010 and in anticipation of the publication of the Single Market Act. Following a review of the Single Market by the Commission in 2007[6] the Committee published a report in 2008, The Single Market: Wallflower or Dancing Partner,[7] which focused on three specific sectors: energy, telecommunications and financial services, as well as considering wider issues affecting the Single Market. These sectors will not be revisited in any detail in this report because they have been dealt with previously.

5.  The inquiry was conducted by the Sub-Committee on the Internal Market, Energy and Transport, whose members, together with their declared interests, are listed in Appendix 1. The Committee heard oral evidence from a range of witnesses, beginning with Professor Mario Monti. It also received a number of written submissions. Witnesses are listed in Appendix 2 and we are grateful to them all.

6.  We have reported after the Commission's consultation on the Single Market Act. Although it concluded on 28 February 2011,[8] we hope that our comments will inform the preparation of the definitive version of the Act, alongside the adoption of an Action Plan for 2011-2012 to implement the priority proposals.

7.  The creation of the Single Market has already provided significant benefits for consumers and businesses alike in the EU and reaching its full potential will take time and commitment; we hope that our conclusions will make a contribution to that effort.

8.  We make this report to the House for debate.

1   Professor Monti is an Italian economist who served as the Internal Market, Financial Services and Financial Integration, Customs, and Taxation Commissioner from 1995-1999 and as Competition Commissioner from 1999-2004. From 2005 to 2008 he served as the first chair of Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank, and is now its honorary president. Back

2   A New Strategy for the Single Market, Mario Monti, 9 May 2010 Back

3   Report A7-0132/2010 on delivering a single market to consumers and citizens, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, 3 May 2010 Back

4   Towards a Single Market Act, COM (2010) 608 final, 27 October 2010 Back

5   The GDP of the EU in 2009 was approximately €11,805 billion according to the IMF. Back

6   A Single Market for 21st century Europe, COM (2007) 724 final, 22 November 2007 Back

7   European Union Committee, 5th Report of Session 2007-08, HL Paper 36 Back

8   The Government's response is available at: 

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