EU lose much of its attraction without the single market

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EU A fully developed single market is central to fight climate change, promote sustainable development, to fully harness the potential of digitalisation and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. Without the single market, the EU would lose much of its attraction.

With the EU institutions starting a new political cycle, everyone is looking for solutions to the many societal challenges facing the union. From the perspective of businesses and industry, we emphasise the importance of the single market. It is the most important tool for the EU to create economic growth, and to increase employment and innovation. A fully developed single market is also central to fight climate change, promote sustainable development, to fully harness the potential of digitalisation and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. Without the single market, the EU would lose much of its attraction, both for the EU member states and the rest of the world.

So, how do we keep the single market relevant? The Nordic business organisations, DI, EK, NHO and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise invited Nordic MEPs to discuss the issue during a round table in Strasburg on September 17. Confederation of Swedish Enterprise participated through Cemille Üstün, expert on the EU single market, and Emelie Nordström, policy adviser at the EU office.

Prior to the meeting, three discussion papers had been jointly drafted by the Nordic business organisations. One covered the single market and how to improve freedom of movement for goods, services and labour, one how to achieve free movement of energy and the circular economy, and one how the single market can be used to improve European businesses access to the global market.

The round table discussions showed a wide engagement for the single market. The parliamentarians welcomed the initiative and established that the Nordic countries must show leadership in developing and preserving the single market. Sweden was represented by MEPs Arba Kokalari, Fredrick Federley and Abir Al-Sahlani.

Nordic consensus exists on many issues, points stressed in the discussion included:

  • That the Nordic countries should embrace leadership and showcase good examples from the business world, especially concerning digitalisation and climate.
  • That the single market for services have unexploited potential. The Services Directive must be fully implemented. Important to keep in mind is that free movement of services affects a wide range of business activities, in the manufacturing industry as well as in the service industry.
  • The circular economy is dependent on free movement of services within the European Union. It needs to be built on the single market and on well-functioning market mechanisms.
  • There is a lack of knowledge and data on how the single market today is implemented and executed. The European Commission must fulfil its obligations as guardian of the treaty and ensure that remaining obstacles are removed.
  • The single market provides the EU with leverage in bilateral trade negotiations. The EU is the de facto the largest integrated market in the world, we must preserve and develop it.
  • A future industrial strategy shall be built on the single market. The single market is the crown jewel of Europe and must be treated as such. The competitiveness within the single market is in the risk of being undermined by softened rules on state aid or competition law. The Nordic countries and its like-minded allies must defend this view.

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