The European single market turned 30 this year
- 447 million citizens
- €14.5 trillion GDP
- 23 million companies
- €3.4 trillion worth of intra-EU exports of goods
- €965 billion worth of intra-EU services exports
Since its inception in 1993, the single internal market has helped to make everyday life easier for people and businesses, fostering jobs and growth across the European Union (EU). This can be considered one of the greatest achievements of the EU.
Today, the single market continues to be the driving force behind the EU, helping to jointly tackle new challenges. For example, finding solutions to combat climate change, creating a clean and secure energy supply and supporting the digitalisation of our economy. Together, we are more resilient and come out of crises stronger, as the recent COVID-19 pandemic showed. In the ongoing energy crisis we also supported European companies to diversify their supply chains and find new business opportunities.
The main benefits of the Single Market
The single market gives people the opportunity to travel and work across the EU and allows goods, services and money to move almost as freely as within a single country. Thanks to common rules and standards, consumers can trust that the products and services they buy in the EU are safe and meet the agreed requirements. Also, enterprises comply with the rules of labor and environmental protection.
The single market helps businesses to grow, including attracting investment (especially in small businesses). The single market also provides protection against potential shocks in supply chains by making it easier to find new suppliers and partners. The single market will enable innovative solutions to be scaled across the continent and help Europe to ensure access to new technologies, critical raw materials and clean energy, as well as the infrastructure, financing and skills needed for the transition.
Practical examples for entrepreneurs
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the largest support network for ambitious entrepreneurs already launched and co-funded by the EU in 2008. EEN offers free information, new business contacts, and many events for networking and expanding business, being represented in more than 60 countries around the world. Check out upcoming matchmaking events and the latest cooperation offers on the following pages: https://een.ec.europa.eu or Estonian Network subpage https://enterprise-europe.ee.
The Your Europe portal at https://europa.eu/youreurope displays information about the EU country of interest of most relevant business aspects (about setting up a business, taxation and product requirements etc).
When it comes to public procurement, EU rules ensure that tendering procedures organised by public authorities are open, findable and transparent in the single market.
Companies can protect their intellectual property by registering for a single, unitary European patent. This system will also make it easier for companies to enforce their rights in court and make it easier and cheaper for companies to protect their innovations.
EU rules ensure that public authorities pay businesses in a timely manner for the products they offer. In order to further reduce the culture of late payments, the existing rules will be strengthened.
Companies need important inputs such as raw materials and technologies such as semiconductors to contribute to the greening and digitalisation of our economy. The EU is working to reduce our dependence on countries outside the Union, including through the Critical Raw Materials Act, diversifying supplies, increasing production in Europe and supporting recycling.
This article has appeared on the European Commission’s website https://single-market-economy.ec.europa.eu/single-market/