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In 1993, the European Union established the Single Market, an ambitious project that aimed to create a common economic area where goods, services, capital, and people could move freely without barriers. Today, on the 30th anniversary, continues to be a success story for the EU, providing significant benefits to businesses and consumers.
According to the European Commission, the Single Market has contributed to the creation of 2.8 million jobs and an increase in GDP of around 2.13% since its creation. Moreover, the elimination of trade barriers and the harmonization of regulations have led to lower prices, greater choice, and better quality for consumers.
However, the Single Market is not without its challenges. One of the main issues is the lack of full integration in some sectors, such as digital services and energy. The digital revolution has transformed the way we live and work, but the EU has struggled to create a level playing field for all businesses, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Similarly, the EU’s energy market is still fragmented, with different rules and pricing mechanisms across member states. To address these challenges, the EU has launched several initiatives to modernize and deepen the Single Market.
One of the most significant initiative is the Digital Single Market strategy, which aims to create a seamless and innovative online environment for businesses and consumers; the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, ensure fair competition and protect consumers’ rights. In the field of sustainability, the goal to become climate-neutral by 2050 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. To achieve these objectives, the EU is investing heavily in renewable energy, clean transportation, and energy-efficient buildings. By adopting sustainable practices, the EU hopes to create new business opportunities and strengthen its position as a global leader in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, the EU has launched the Single Market Programme (SMP), a funding program aimed at helping the single market reach its full potential and ensuring Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The SMP, which has a budget of €4.2 billion over the period of 2021-2027, provides an integrated package to support and strengthen the governance of the single market.
The pandemic has highlighted that the single market is yet to materialise in a number of areas and can improve in others, and that a well-functioning single market is crucial for the resilience of our economy. The Single Market has been a driving force of the EU’s economic success over the past 30 years. However, challenges remain, and the EU is taking bold steps to deepen and modernize the Single Market to boost competitiveness and sustainability.
The Single Market Programme is a crucial element of these efforts, providing funding and support to ensure the single market reaches its full potential. As the EU looks to the future, a well-functioning single market will continue to be essential for the resilience and prosperity of the European economy.
Written by: Nenad Stekić