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A new post-2020 Single Market programme

Central element of the European Union, the Single Market or Internal Market allows European citizens, goods, services and capital to move freely within the territory of the European Union.

Identified in the Treaty of Rome as one of the Community’s priority objectives, the single market (at the time the common market) was gradually put in place by abolishing customs duties and establishing the four main freedoms of movement. This Single Market has enabled 24 million European businesses to benefit from direct access for nearly 500 million consumers. According to the European Commission, the Single Market has also created 2.77 million jobs and generated over €233 billion in EU GDP. Nevertheless, many obstacles still remain, particularly in the area of capitals or SMEs.

The proposed budget for the European Union, published by the Commission in early May, is a further step towards the completion of the internal market. In this proposal, the[JB1]  Commission presents the Union’s new programmes and priorities for the next programming period 2021-2027. Thus Horizon 2020, the current research and innovation programme, will become Horizon Europe and its budget will be increased, as will the Erasmus+ programme, which encourages student and teacher mobility.

In this context, the Commission submitted a new Single Market Programme to Parliament for vote. This programme provides 4 billion euro for 2021-2027 in order to focus on six priority objectives: maintaining a high level of food safety; further improving consumer protection; stimulating and financing the competitiveness of businesses, in particular SMEs; improving Single Market governance and compliance with standards; producing and disseminating good quality statistics; and developing effective European standards.

For each of these objectives, the Commission has identified priorities and tools at its disposal or to be developed during the next programming period. For instance, to improve the competitiveness of SMEs, the Commission will rely on the development of the Enterprise Europe Network (under the COSME programme) which provides advice to SMEs on international innovation and growth. SMEs should also be supported through the €2 billion InvestEU fund which will complement the Single Market budget.

The budget for this proposal is currently being adopted by the EU Parliament and Council. In its proposal, the Commission reiterated once again the importance of the rapid adoption of the overall budget for the next programming period.


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