EU citizens still do not benefit fully from the single market, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. They point to difficulties opening bank accounts, registering cars and having professional qualifications recognized and blame these problems on member states' reluctance to implement EU rules swiftly, coordinate with each other and inform citizens of their rights.
"In the year in which we celebrate its 20th birthday, it is sad to see that there is still a gap between expectations and reality regarding the single market, with European citizens and businesses still facing obstacles in exercising their rights. It is essential to breathe new life into the single market, with European citizens and consumers placed at its centre", said the rapporteur, Regina Bastos (EPP, PT).
The non-binding resolution, adopted unanimously by the committee (by 32 votes to 0), follows up an independent survey of European citizens' and businesses' top 20 complaints about the functioning of the single market, conducted by the Commission at Parliament's request. MEPs want the Commission to table "concrete actions and feasible proposals" to tackle the 20 concerns.
Cut the cost of vehicle registration
One of the chief sources of frustration identified in the survey was the "onerous and complex procedures" faced by European citizens wanting to import their car into another member state, including having to provide documentation that does not exist in their own country and pay additional taxes. The MEPs call on the member states to minimise the financial cost of registering vehicles and to recognise each others' technical controls.
The right to have a bank account
The committee points out that 30 million European citizens have been prevented by banks from opening a bank account, thus hindering mobility in the single market, and calls the Commission to table legislation to ensure consumer-friendly procedures for opening bank accounts across the Union. "All EU citizens who do not already hold a bank account in the member state where they have lodged a request for one should have access to basic banking services", the text adds.
Faster recognition of qualifications
MEPs call for a European professional card, in order to speed up the recognition of professional qualifications and thereby facilitate the mobility of workers between Member States.
Implement single market rules
They point to over 2000 cases in which member states have failed to implement EU single market law correctly or in full. As this is preventing EU citizens from exercising their rights to the full. MEPs call on member states to prioritise the correct and timely transposition of the single market legislation into national laws.
Better dialogue with citizens
The resolution recognises that there is a lack of information about the single market and calls on the Commission, Member States, regional and local authorities, and civil society representatives to launch regular European interactive information campaigns highlighting the benefits of the single market, practical and concrete solutions to their day-to-day problems, and their rights.
The full House is scheduled to vote on the draft resolution on the 20 main concerns with the single market in Strasbourg in October.
In the chair: Gino Trematerra (EPP, IT)