The European Union Internal Market
|Single Market – basic principles||3|
|The freedom that the Internal Market brings||6|
Article 2 of the Treaty of Rome set the following aim for the European Economic Community (EEC): "to promote throughout the Community a harmonious development of economic activities, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increase in stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between the States belonging to it”.
The single market was declared "complete" on 1 January 1993 - and even then the project was not quite finished. But still, gone are most of those barriers — physical, procedural, bureaucratic and commercial — that tended to confine people, goods and money behind national, protectionist walls. Now those barriers have been broken down, peoples’ opportunities, experiences and horizons are widening. Now people, goods, services and money move around Europe as freely as within one country.
Of course, the process of opening up Europe is far from complete and much work remains to be done. Not all the principles behind the single market are yet fully applied in practice. However already, the single market has transformed for the better many aspects of European life.
And the achievement of the last decade or so is not just an economic one. Without losing any of their national characteristics and cultural traditions, citizens of the Member States have also become citizens of Europe.
Single Market – basic principles
The single market is the core of today’s Union. To make it happen, the EU institutions and the member countries strove doggedly for seven years from 1985 to draft and adopt the hundreds of directives needed to sweep away the technical, regulatory, legal, bureaucratic, cultural and protectionist barriers that stifled free trade and free movement within the Union. All these conditions were set out in a document called White Paper – drafted by Commission President Delors and Commissioner Lord Cockfield. The deadline for making Single market then was 31 December 1992. Legally this date was reached, but the Single Market is still developing.
The Internal Market has been further developed and strengthened in the last years. It has been extended into new sectors, such as air transport, telecommunications energy and financial services, which are crucial to the competitiveness of the economy as a whole. Consumer and environmental protections have been significantly enhanced. More has been done to improve the enforcement of Community law. And more, with the arrival of the euro, the pace of economic integration has been stepped up and many of the benefits of the Internal Market have been reinforced.
The benefits of the measures set out in the White Paper are clearly being felt, as more and more individual citizens and businesses take advantage of the opportunities on offer. These benefits can be divided in such titles:
People move freely across most borders: More Europeans are visiting their EU neighbours for a holiday or study break than ever before. Going to work in another Member State is much easier now countries recognise a wide variety of each other’s professional qualifications.
Goods are no longer delayed for hours or days at borders by heavy paperwork: This makes delivery times shorter, allowing manufacturers to save money and reduce prices for customers.