The Single Market, which allows people and businesses to move and trade freely across borders within the EU, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

To mark the occasion, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, Anneleen Van Bossuyt, is holding a press conference with Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska today at 16.00, in Strasbourg.

 

Ahead of the press conference, Ms Van Bossuyt said:

 

“The Single Market has made our lives simpler and often cheaper, making it easier for citizens and businesses to enjoy goods and services from other Member States. Initially, the focus was on free trade in tangible goods and services, with the abolition of customs controls between the Member States. In recent years, we have invested heavily in the Digital Single Market. Just think of the end of roaming charges while traveling within the EU, and of the possibility to make your digital subscriptions, such as Netflix, available when you are abroad". “The Single Market has also provided more security and consumer protection. The products on the European market must meet stringent safety requirements. The right to return a product ordered online arises from the further completion of this internal market”.

 

“We can be proud of one of the greatest achievements of the European Union. The Single Market is invaluable to our economy and the lives of our citizens”.

 

Background

 

The EU Single Market came into being on 1 January 1993, with the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital.  Over the last 25 years it has grown  from 345 million citizens to about 510 million, and the number of its participating EU Member States has doubled, from 12 to 28 (since the creation of the European Economic Area in 1994, it also includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).

 

The Single Market creates important benefits and opportunities for EU citizens and consumers, such as wider choice, higher quality standards for goods  and services, lower prices, and easier mobility for work or leisure.

 

It also provides important economic opportunities for European companies, SMEs and professionals via economies of scale, stronger competition, lower transaction costs and a better allocation of resources. The Single Market enables companies to scale up and tap into the vast EU market, where common EU rules have replaced a patchwork of differing national technical and quality standards and customs formalities and duties have been abolished.

 

Several initiatives are now under way to create a fully-functional Digital Single Market, where the free movement of goods, persons, services, capital and data is guaranteed — and where citizens and businesses can seamlessly and fairly access online goods and services, whatever their nationality, and wherever they live.

 

You will find more details on the key achievements of the EU Single Market here.