EU single market in services remains "a mirage"


A European Commission report released Thursday (22nd November) on the Single Market exposes the reluctance of some countries and political groups to support the EU's flagship project.

ECR Internal Market co-ordinator Daniel Dalton said it emphasised what the ECR Group has been saying for some time - that the single market in services is just a mirage.

The UK Conservative MEP said: "While the EU single market in goods is well developed, for services it hardly exists and any attempt to develop it is blocked by member states and parliament.

"Many EU governments don’t really want it despite their protestations during the Brexit negotiations. If we did not already have the Services Directive, does anyone really imagine it would be passed in this current climate?

"In the European Parliament, it is not just the left putting obstructions in the way. The centre-right EPP also often lapses into protectionism, opposing even minor improvements. Most recently it helped block a report by ECR MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt proposing an e-card system which would have made it easier for trades people and professionals to work across borders.

"The Single Market is at the heart of the EU project, yet the ECR Group is the only consistent champion of free trade in parliament."

The Commission report notes that "significant political commitment will be required to deepen integration in those areas of the Single Market where there is considerable untapped potential, including services." It adds: "More than ever we need to match rhetoric with delivery and to have an open debate at the highest level leading to a renewed commitment by leaders to the Single Market in all its dimensions."

Only one-third of single market-related legislation proposed during the current mandate has been approved. Despite services making up 70% of EU GDP, just 20% of services are traded across borders.

Mr Dalton added: "The ECR Group shares the Commission's frustration and supports its proposal to consult member states before pressing ahead with any new legislation. That is a sensible way forward"