Procedure : 2010/2278(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0072/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0072/2011

Debates :

PV 06/04/2011 - 4
PV 06/04/2011 - 6
CRE 06/04/2011 - 4
CRE 06/04/2011 - 6

Votes :

PV 06/04/2011 - 8.19
CRE 06/04/2011 - 8.19
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0145

REPORT     
PDF 344kWORD 259k
24 March 2011
PE 456.691v02-00 A7-0072/2011

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Rapporteur: António Fernando Correia De Campos

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Petitions
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as incorporated into the Treaties by Article 6 of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 26 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which stipulates that ‘the internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties’,

–   having regard to Article 3(3) of the EU Treaty, which commits the Union to working for ‘a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment’,

–   having regard to Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which stipulates that ‘in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health’,

–   having regard to Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which stipulates that ‘environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Union policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development’,

–   having regard to Article 12 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which stipulates that ‘consumer protection requirements shall be taken into account in defining and implementing other Union policies and activities’,

–   having regard to Article 14 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Protocol 26 thereto on services of general (economic) interest,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the European Council entitled ‘Europe 2020, a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Towards a Single Market Act – for a highly competitive social market economy’ (COM(2010)0608),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘A citizen’s agenda – delivering results for Europe’ (COM(2006)0211),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘A Single Market for 21st century Europe’ (COM(2007)0724) and the accompanying Commission staff working document entitled ‘The Single Market: review of achievements’ (SEC(2007)1521), Parliament’s resolution of 4 September 2007 on the Single Market review(1) and the Commission staff working document entitled ‘The Single Market review: one year on’ (SEC(2008)3064),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Opportunities, access and solidarity: towards a new social vision for the 21st century’ (COM(2007)0726), the Commission Communication on ‘Services of general interest, including social services of general interest: a new European commitment’ (COM(2007)0725) and Parliament’s resolution of 27 September 2006 on the Commission White Paper on services of general interest(2),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 29 June 2009 on measures to improve the functioning of the single market(3) and the Commission Recommendation of 12 July 2004 on the transposition into national law of Directives affecting the internal market(4),

–   having regard to the Internal Market Scoreboard of July 2009 (SEC(2009)1007) and to Parliament’s resolutions of 9 March 2010(5) and 23 September 2008(6) on the Internal Market Scoreboard,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘EU Consumer Policy strategy 2007-2013 – Empowering consumers, enhancing their welfare, effectively protecting them’ and Parliament’s resolution of 20 May 2008 on the EU consumer policy strategy 2007-2013(7),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 28 January 2009 entitled ‘Monitoring consumer outcomes in the Single Market – Second edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard’ (COM(2009)0025) and to the accompanying Commission staff working document entitled ‘Second Consumer Markets Scoreboard’ (SEC(2009)0076),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 2 July 2009 on the enforcement           of the consumer acquis (COM(2009)0330) and to the Commission report of 2 July 2009 on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the ‘Regulation on consumer protection cooperation’) (COM(2009)0336),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on ‘Cross-border business-to-consumer e-commerce in the EU’ (COM(2009)0557),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2010 on consumer protection(8),

–   having regard to Professor Mario Monti’s report to the Commission on revitalising the Single Market,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on delivering a Single Market to consumers and citizens(9),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the financial, economic and social crisis(10);

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on ‘Youth on the Move’ (COM(2010)0477),

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 September 2010 on completing the internal market for e-commerce(11),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights’ (COM(2010)0603),

–   having regard to the report of the European Economic and Social Committee, Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, on ‘Obstacles to the European Single Market 2008’(12),

–   having regard to SOLVIT’s 2008 annual report on the development and performance of the SOLVIT network (SEC(2009)0142), the Commission staff working paper of 8 May 2008 on an action plan on an integrated approach for providing Single Market Assistance Services to citizens and business (SEC(2008)1882) and Parliament’s resolution of 9 March 2010 on SOLVIT(13),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products, which aims to create an overall framework of rules and principles for accreditation and market surveillance(14),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Petitions (A7-0072/2011),

A. whereas a functioning Single Market is the key driver which will enable the European Union to reach its full potential in terms of competitiveness, smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, the creation of more and better jobs, efforts to create a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds, the establishment of equal rights for all European citizens and strengthening a highly competitive social market economy,

B.  whereas the Single Market Act concerns Europeans as active participants in the European economy,

C. whereas the Single Market cannot be regarded in purely economic terms, but must be seen as being embedded in a wider legal framework conferring specific, fundamental rights on citizens, consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) of all kinds,

D. whereas too many obstacles stand in the way of citizens wishing to study or work in or move to another Member State or shop cross-border and of SMEs wishing to establish themselves in another Member State or trade cross-border; whereas these obstacles stem, inter alia, from insufficiently harmonised national laws, low portability of social security rights and excessive red tape, which impedes the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the Union,

E.   whereas the completion of the Single Market requires a holistic vision to further strengthen its development, as the Monti report and the resolution on delivering a Single Market to consumers and citizens highlighted, involving the incorporation of all relevant policies into a single strategic market objective, encompassing not only competition policy, but also, inter alia, industrial, consumer, energy, transport, digital, environment, climate change, trade, regional, justice and citizenship policies, in order to reach a high level of integration;

F.  whereas the Single Market should offer European consumers more choices at lower prices, especially for those who live in less accessible areas, such as island, mountain and sparsely populated regions, and those who suffer from reduced mobility,

G. whereas printed and online material published by the Commission is often either too abstract or too complex to truly engage citizens and reach a wide audience,

H. whereas it is important that the Single Market Act should not consist of a series of isolated measures and that all the proposals must contribute to the achievement of a coherent objective,

I.   Introduction

1.  Welcomes the Commission Communication entitled ‘Towards a Single Market Act’, and specifically Chapter II, ‘Restoring confidence by putting Europeans at the heart of the Single Market’, which contains 19 initiatives geared to the needs of European citizens;

2.   Considers that the Communication's proposals are generally in line with Parliament’s expectations, but need to be further strengthened in order for citizens to be at the heart of the Single Market project;

3.   Deplores the fact that the Communication has been divided into three chapters focusing on Europeans, businesses and governance, rather than along subject-matter lines; points out that the competitiveness of the Single Market and its acceptance among citizens should not be regarded as contradictory, but as mutually reinforcing objectives; considers, however, that the three chapters of the Communication are equally important and interconnected, and should be dealt with by means of a consistent approach, taking into account proposals made and concerns expressed by stakeholders at EU level and in the Member States;

4.   Firmly believes that the Single Market Act needs to constitute a coherent and balanced package of measures, in keeping with the spirit of the Grech report (A7-0132/2010) and the Monti report, which lays the foundations for a Europe of Added Value for citizens and enterprises;

5.   Argues that the relaunching and deepening of the Single Market are essential in the context of EU policies to fight the effects of the financial and economic crisis, and as part of the EU 2020 strategy;

6.   Takes the view that Europeans have not yet fully exploited the potential of the Single Market in many areas, including the free movement of persons, goods and services, and that new incentives are needed in particular to ensure effective geographical labour mobility across Europe;

7.   Takes the view that the Single Market strategy should strengthen social welfare and workers' rights and ensure fair working conditions for all Europeans;

8.  Supports the Commission’s idea of initiating, through the Single Market Act, a global and pragmatic debate throughout Europe on the benefits and costs of the internal market, and asks the Commission to ensure the effective application of internal market rules which reduce the administrative burden on citizens;9.  Shares the conviction that the full realisation of the European Single Market should form the basis for the completion of the process of political and economic integration;

10. Emphasises in particular the Commission’s commitment, in this Communication, to promoting new approaches to sustainable development;

11. Stresses that it is not just Single Market legislation which is implemented and applied poorly by the Member States, but also other legislation affecting the rights of European citizens and other legal residents; calls on the Member States to ensure better implementation of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) in particular;

12. Considers that efforts to complete the Single Market need to concentrate on the concerns and rights of citizens, consumers , public-service users and businesses and bring them tangible benefits in order to restore their full confidence in the Single Market and make them more aware of the opportunities it offers;

13. Urges the Member States and the Commission to join forces to put the Single Market message across to citizens and to ensure that its benefits are recognised and their rights as consumers are properly and widely understood and enforced; acknowledges, in that connection, the need for better communications strategies that truly engage the interest of the majority of citizens and for extensive, imaginative use to be made of modern technologies;

14. Stresses that the Single Market for Europeans is primarily about jobs and creating new jobs and that it is vital to create an environment in which businesses and citizens can fully exercise their rights;

15. Stresses that the Single Market offers great potential in terms of employment, growth and competitiveness and that strong structural policies must be adopted in order to exploit that potential to the full;

16. Stresses that demographic challenges require a strategy which would help create jobs that fill the gaps in the EU labour market;

17. Reiterates the view expressed in the resolution of 20 May 2010 on delivering a Single Market to consumers and citizens that the Commission ought to promote ‘consumer-friendly’ Single Market legislation, so as to ensure that consumer interests are fully taken into account in the workings of the Single Market;

18. Points out that the confidence of citizens and consumers is crucial for the functioning of the Single Market and cannot be taken for granted, but needs to be nurtured; considers, in particular, that in order to deliver on their promises Member States and the EU institutions must ensure that the current Single Market framework operates to its full capacity; emphasises that citizens’confidence is just as indispensable for the successful completion of the Single Market as a favourable environment for enterprises; believes that economic integration should be accompanied by appropriate social, environmental and consumer protection measures, in order to achieve both objectives;

19. Considers furthermore, that on the question of delivering added value for European citizens, Single Market proposals must respect the principles of subsidiarity and Member State sovereignty and promote exchanges of best practice between Member States;

20. Emphasises the lack of direct communication with citizens and considers that the EU representations in the Member States must be mandated to respond immediately to negative and misleading reports in the media by presenting the facts, and should make further efforts to provide information on European legislation, projects and programmes, thereby also promoting informed debate on European issues; advocates, further, the extensive and imaginative use of modern technology, including role-playing videogames which young people can play in a competitive way at European level (e.g. as part of an EU competition for schools), while at the same time learning about how the economy and the EU work;

21. Points out that the effectiveness and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged EU can and should be improved, since the support of European citizens for the EU is clearly being eroded; takes the view that too little time and effort is spent, or that an incorrect method is used, to bring the people of Europe together, which should be the EU’s core task; calls, therefore, for more to be done by the Member States and the EU institutions to create support for the EU and to convince the European people of the importance of the EU’s values and of the usefulness and benefits of the EU;

22. Regards the fight against corruption and organised crime as essential to the proper functioning of the internal market and calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue their work in this field, using all available instruments, including the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification;

23. Stresses the need to take account of the aims of the Stockholm Programme, in particular open borders and the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, in drawing up the Single Market Act.

24. Affirms that the Member States have a duty to adopt and implement European legislation on the internal market and on related European citizens’ rights;

25. Emphasises that the implementation of the Single Market must proceed with full respect for the rights of citizens and residents of the Union, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

26. Believes that the petitions process can make a positive contribution to helping citizens take advantage of the internal market;

27. Invites the Commission to adopt a clear and readily accessible ‘Citizens’ Charter’ on the right to live and work anywhere in the EU, and to develop targeted, multilingual information about the everyday problems that citizens encounter when moving, shopping or selling across Europe and the social, health, consumer protection and environmental protection standards on which they can rely;

28. Considers that the 19 actions proposed by the Commission should be prioritised according to their impact on job creation and their delivery of tangible benefits as well as their feasibility for European citizens in a realistic period of time;

29. Recalls that in its resolution on the social economy it called for greater recognition for social economy enterprises, including the generalised integration of the concept into EU policies, intensified dialogue with social economy representatives, better business support measures and recognition in the context of the social dialogue; recalls that in the same resolution it called for national registers to take social economy enterprises into account and for specific statistics on the activities of social economy enterprises;

30. Calls for the launch of a televised European competition for the ‘European cross-border business of the year’ to open people’s eyes to the opportunities and benefits of the Single Market and to the potential of young people with ideas; considers that the attraction of seeing people from different parts of Europe getting together to develop a business plan, raise funding and start something positive together would help promote both the idea of Europe and the Single Market and the idea of entrepreneurship; further believes that following the winning business over the year - focusing also on its staff and their friends and families - could highlight the benefits and shortcomings of the Single Market, and the remedies for those shortcomings, in order to make people aware of what Europe is really about, also in human terms;

31. Recalls the need to take account, under the EU's integrated policies, of the situation of regions with specific territorial characteristics, particularly the outermost regions as defined in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, so that those regions and their enterprises, workforce and citizens can be fully integrated into the EU internal market and thus benefit fully from it; encourages the Commission to retain, and further develop, the specific provisions for these regions; recalls the need to establish the wider European neighbourhood action plan referred to in Commission Communication COM(2004)0343, as a complement to integration into the Single Market; calls, finally, for the proposals in the chapter entitled ‘Increasing solidarity in the Single Market’ to be expanded and bolstered, and, in particular, for due account to be taken of the impact of the Single Market in the most disadvantaged regions, in order to anticipate and support those regions’ adjustment efforts;

II. General Assessment

32. Calls on the Commission to take urgent action to encourage the mobility of citizens with a view to promoting sustainable growth, employment and social inclusion, and calls for the establishment of a ‘mobility scoreboard’ to measure mobility within the EU; in that connection, welcomes the Commission’s initiatives on the recognition of professional qualifications, the ‘Youth on the Move’ initiative, the ‘European Skills Passport’, the proposal on the rights of air passengers, the initiative on access to certain basic banking services and the proposed initiative to improve the transparency and comparability of bank charges; suggests that the Commission, in its impact assessment, conducts a cost-benefit analysis and looks for synergies between the above-mentioned initiatives; calls on the Commission to increase and widen participation in mobility programmes, particularly among young people, and to raise these programmes’ profile;

33.  Notes that issues relating to product safety and market surveillance are of the utmost importance to European citizens; welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s multiannual action plan for the development of European market surveillance based on guidelines for customs control and for product safety, and urges the Commission to establish a Single Market surveillance system for all products, based on one legislative act covering both the GPSD and the Market Surveillance Regulation; calls on the Commission to play a more active role in coordination and sharing of best practice between national customs and market surveillance authorities in order to increase the effectiveness of border controls on goods imported from third countries;; calls on Member States and the Commission to deploy the resources needed to make market surveillance activities effective;

34. Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States which are still imposing restrictions on their labour markets to review their transitional provisions in order to open up their labour markets to all European workers

35. Considers that an influx of highly qualified migrants and seasonal workers would be beneficial for the European economy; calls on the Member States, therefore, to fast-track the removal of restrictions in force on their labour markets for all EU citizens; in addition, calls on the Commission to further develop immigration policy in respect of those groups, bearing in mind the need not to deprive countries of origin of their vital human resources, while simultaneously improving measures concerning the management of external borders and the prevention of illegal immigration;

36. Reiterates that the principle of non-discrimination within the internal market does away with the requirement imposed on nationals of another Member State to supply original documents, certified copies, certificates of nationality or official translations of documents in order to obtain a service or more advantageous terms or prices;

37. Takes the view that the Services Directive creates the fundamental framework for a higher degree of free movement of service providers, as well as aiming to strengthen the rights of consumers as recipients of services and enhance the availability of information, assistance and transparency with regard to service providers and their services;

38. Calls on the Commission to put forward practical proposals to extend consumer protection against unfair commercial practices to small businesses;

39 Welcomes the Commission's intention to propose a legislative initiative to reform the system for the recognition of professional qualifications; calls on the Commission to evaluate the acquis and publish a Green Paper by September 2011; draws attention to the need to guarantee the portability of pension rights; calls on Member States to coordinate their pension policies more effectively and to exchange best practices at European level;

40. Calls for a clearer link to be established between secondary and higher education programmes and the needs of the job market and stresses the important role of apprenticeships; calls on the Commission to promote formal and informal learning; believes that professional cards could be a concrete measure to facilitate the mobility of professionals in the Single Market, at least in certain sectors; urges the Commission, ahead of its review, to carry out an assessment of the impact of the introduction of European professional cards, taking into consideration their benefits, added value, data protection requirements and costs;

41. Considers that the Commission should sponsor a European skills exchange whereby small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from the skills available in larger enterprises, thereby promoting synergies and mentoring;

42. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to adopt a Communication on energy priorities for the period to 2020/2030; calls on the Commission to tackle missing infrastructure links and facilitate the integration of renewable energy in order to develop a fully operational internal energy market;

43. Welcomes the announcement of a legislative initiative on the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) with a view to guaranteeing respect for posted workers’ rights and clarifying the obligations of national authorities and businesses; calls on the Member States to remedy shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of the directive;

44. Welcomes the Commission’s announcement of a measure to ensure access to certain basic banking services; notes that scrutiny measures applied to customers who are considered to represent higher risks for banks should be objectively justified and proportionate; welcomes the proposed initiative to improve the transparency and comparability of bank charges;

45. Calls on the Commission to include in its programme key financial services initiatives (e.g. the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and increased legal certainty regarding securities holdings) which are highly relevant to the Single Market; stresses that a fragmented payment system is an obstacle to cross-border trade; calls on the Commission to continue to improve the SEPA system in order to define a basic payment service available for all credit cards, increasing transparency in transaction costs and reducing interchange fees in the EU;

46. Calls for measures to create an appropriate legal framework for foundations, mutual societies and associations so as to give them European status, to prevent legal uncertainty and to promote other social economy enterprises and other social projects; welcomes the Commission's intention to revise Regulation (EC) No 1435/2003 on the Statute for European Cooperative Societies, calls, as part of this revision, for the creation of a genuinely autonomous Statute;  stresses the need to improve cross-border access for social economy enterprises and maximise their entrepreneurial, social, cultural and innovative potential in the Single Market;

47. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to take account of the social impact of proposed legislation concerning the Single Market whenever necessary in order to make better informed and more evidence-based political decisions; encourages the Commission to propose a set of indicators which could be used to assess the social impact of legislation; considers that this impact assessment should be undertaken as part of an integrated assessment that considers all relevant impacts of a proposal (i.e. financial and environmental and on competitiveness, job creation and growth);

48. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to put forward a legislative proposal on mortgage loans in order to respond to the current lack of consumer protection, the legal uncertainty surrounding mortgage loans and the insufficient comparability of the conditions and choices offered by mortgage loan providers, to guarantee the stability of the economic and financial system and to reduce barriers so that mortgage loans providers can do business and citizens can obtain a mortgage in another Member State;

49. Deplores the fact that no action on roaming charges is envisaged in the Commission's Communication on the Single Market Act, despite the tangible nature of such measures and the high expectations of citizens in this area; urges the Commission to propose an extension of the existing roaming regulation both in time - to June 2015 - and in scope, introducing retail price caps for data roaming; takes the view that, in order to achieve the digital agenda goals, this initiative should be included in the scope of the Single Market Act; calls on the telecommunications sector to promote a business model based on flat-rate charges for data transmission, voice messaging and text message roaming throughout the EU;

50. Calls on the Commission to take urgent measures to stabilise financial markets, ensure that those markets work for the benefit of the real economy and create an appropriately regulated and supervised single retail market, with the dual aim of achieving a high level of consumer protection and ensuring financial stability by avoiding bubbles, in particular with regard to real estate;

51. Calls on the Commission to identify and eliminate the tax obstacles still faced by European citizens; calls for stronger action to prevent double taxation of European citizens;

52. Welcomes the Commission’s initiative to launch a public consultation on corporate governance and improving the transparency of the information provided by businesses on social and environmental matters and respect for human rights, but emphasises the importance of taking further specific steps to promote sound and responsible remuneration policies, adequate participation of women in management and executive boards, the valorisation of long-term shareholder commitment and the enhancement of employee consultation, participation and shareholding schemes; calls, in particular, for the promotion of employee shareholding schemes, the strengthening of long-term shareholder commitment and the promotion of information and consultation rights for employees and their representatives, together with boardroom participation rights; emphasises that increased transparency, good relations with staff, and production processes consistent with sustainable development are also in the interests of businesses, their owners and those who invest in them;

53. Notes the Commission proposal concerning the social business initiative and recommends launching a consultation process on this project in order to assess the potential of this measure in terms of economic growth and job creation;

54. Considers that the Single Market Act should propose ways in which the public sector can better involve businesses in promoting innovative arrangements for the provision of public services; encourages the Commission in its efforts to define a quality framework for services of general interest by providing public authorities with a ‘tool-kit’ to evaluate the quality of such services and make sectoral and transnational comparisons;

55. Calls on the Commission to facilitate the application of EU rules by clarifying the criteria governing the compatibility of state aid and public procurement in connection with social services of general interest (SSGI) with the internal market;

56. Calls for strategic and appropriate use to be made of Structural Fund and Cohesion Fund resources, and for the expansion of the Trans-European Networks with a view to developing the Single Market;

57. Draws particular attention to the added value of the TEN-T network, especially of those projects that are transnational in nature and which alleviate bottlenecks: points out that TEN-T provides an efficient framework for the movement of people and goods within the EU, and notes that the Europe 2020 Strategy recognises the European added value of speeding up strategic projects that cross borders, remove bottlenecks and support intermodal nodes (cities, ports, airports, logistical platforms);

58. Supports the concept of a core network consisting of priority projects which adhere to these principles, which should then be the main beneficiaries of EU funding, and urges that EU-supported transport investment should be dovetailed with other related transport infrastructure projects that receive EU funding from other sources;

59. Welcomes the introduction of real rights for passengers undertaking intra-EU travel in the aviation, rail, maritime and coach and bus sectors, and recognises that these rights are essential to facilitating the free movement of persons within the Single Market;

60. Calls for a review of the enforcement of those rights in the aviation sector, to be followed, if necessary, by legislative proposals to clarify and consolidate those rights with a view to ensuring their uniform application throughout the European Union and to eliminate the risk of distorting competition within the Single Market both within and between transport modes; calls for these proposals to include adequate protection for consumers in such areas as package travel, bankruptcies and excessive charges for services;

61. Points out that the existing legislative framework regulating air passengers’ rights needs better enforcement measures, so that citizens, particularly persons with reduced mobility (PRM), can fully avail themselves of their rights; calls on the Commission to adopt a proposal amending the regulation on the rights of air passengers, in order to enhance consumer protection, (Ex AM 113( Or. EN) of FdRand a communication on the rights of passengers using all modes of transport, to be followed by legislative proposals;

62. Calls on the Commission to take stock of the experience gained so far in the area of passenger rights, identify common patterns between modes and set out general policy guidelines for the coming years, focusing in particular on how to increase passengers’ awareness of their rights and how to exercise them;

63. Calls on the Commission to encourage the use of new technologies in an efficient, intelligent and sustainable transport system which aids the passenger by supporting the use of integrated ticketing;

64. Emphasises the need to complete the Digital Single Market, and notes that its benefits will have a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of Europeans; calls for measures to promote e-health and universal access to broadband services at affordable prices; welcomes the proposal for a decision establishing a European Radio Spectrum Action Programme, in particular the freeing-up of the 800 MHz digital dividend band by 2013 so that the wireless broadband market can grow and ensure fast internet access for all citizens, particularly those living in less accessible parts of Europe, such as island, mountain, rural and sparsely populated areas;

65. Urges Member States not to look at the Commission proposal on a horizontal anti-discrimination directive (COM(2008 0426) only in terms of costs, but also in terms of the potential benefits when people who previously did not feel safe and secure in certain areas start to access services there;

66. Strongly supports the ‘25 actions to improve the daily life of EU citizens’ contained in the EU Citizenship report 2010 (COM(2010)0603), particularly those relating to increased protection for victims, suspects and accused persons;

67. Welcomes the directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare and calls on Member States to implement it fully;

III. Key priorities

68. Calls on the Commission to endorse the following list of proposals as key Parliament priorities:

1.        Calls on the Commission to take measures to increase the mobility of European citizens, in particular by publishing by September 2011 a Green Paper on the recognition of professional qualifications, including an assessment of the existing framework, and, if appropriate, to propose a legislative initiative to reform this framework in 2012, at the same time assessing the feasibility and the added value of EU-wide professional identity cards and a ‘European skills passport’ in 2011 and setting-up a ‘mobility scoreboard’ to measure mobility within the EU;

2.        Calls on the Commission to play a more active role in coordinating the activities of national market surveillance and customs authorities, in order to improve the effectiveness of border controls on goods imported from third countries, and to draw up in 2011 a multiannual action plan for the development of an effective European market surveillance system for all products, while allowing Member States flexibility in fulfilling their legal obligations;

3.        Urges the Commission to propose an extension of the existing roaming regulation both in time - to June 2015 - and in scope, introducing retail price caps for data roaming in order to reduce roaming costs for members of the public and businesses;

4.        Calls on the Commission to submit by June 2011 a legislative proposal on guaranteeing access to certain basic banking services and to improve the transparency and comparability of bank charges by the end of 2011;

5.        Calls on the Commission to come up with a legislative proposal to remove obstacles encountered by mobile workers in order to ensure the full portability of pension rights;

69. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

OJ C 187E, 24.7.2008, p.80.

(2)

OJC 306E, 15.12.2006, p. 277.

(3)

OJ L 176, 7.7.2009, p. 17.

(4)

OJ L 98, 16.4.2005, p. 47.

(5)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0051.

(6)

OJ C 309E, 4.12.2008, p. 46.

(7)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0210.

(8)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0046.

(9)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0186.

(10)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0376.

(11)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0320.

(12)

http://www.eesc.europa.eu/smo/news/Obstacles_December-2008.pdf.

(13)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0047.

(14)

OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

On 11th November 2010, the Commission adopted a communication proposal to renew Europeans’ trust in the Single Market(1). This Single Market Act will be under discussion until February 28, 2011. The overall approach proposed by the Commission is a continuation of the report by Mario Monti to the President of the European Commission, ‘A new strategy for the Single Market’. Its purpose, in accordance with Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, is to strengthen ‘a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment’ by placing companies, especially SMEs, and Europeans at the heart of the Single Market.

The Commission Communication ‘Towards a Single Market Act for a highly competitive social market economy — contains 50 proposals for improving our work, business and exchanges with one another’ and specially the chapter II ‘Restoring confidence by putting Europeans at the heart of the Single Market’ contains 19 initiatives on the social dimension of the Single Market.

The Grech report adopted by the Parliament in May 2010, recommended a truly holistic approach to the re-launch and strengthening of the Internal Market, encompassing key sectors such as industrial, energy and infrastructure EU policies. However the Commission Communication in the correlation with the EU 2020 strategy is weak and unclear, and overlaps with different Flagship initiatives. More consistency, effectiveness and better governance is needed for a renewed Single Market to foster EU growth, employment, competitiveness and to empower citizens and consumers. The Council and the Members States both have to foster European commitment and national ownership towards the deepening and strengthening of the Single Market.

Efforts to achieve the Single Market have been concentrated on the market and its organisation and very little on concerns and rights of citizens, workers and consumers which can explain the Europeans reluctance and fatigue regarding the Internal Market. Citizens need to be placed at the heart of the Single Market. This is clearly stated in the introduction of the document; however, the proposals to implement that goal are too weak to achieve it.

The Commission proposes a pact for improving the three components of the Single Market at the same time: economic, social and governance. This comprehensive approach is indeed structured in three parts and 50 specific proposals of legislative or operational nature:

1. Strong, sustainable and equitable growth for business (24 proposals)

2. Restoring confidence by putting Europeans at the heart of the Single Market (19 proposals)

3. Dialogue, partnership, evaluation: the keys for good governance of the Single Market (7 proposals)

This report responds to the 19 proposals included in Chapter 2 of the Single Market Act, deepening on some priority questions and specifically upon the work done in the report by Mr Grech and the paper by Mr Monti.

Basic social rights

A social clause has to be inserted in all Single Market legislation in line with Article 9 TFEU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union so that policies developed are truly citizen-centred, distortions of competition are avoided and cohesion is ensured by fully respecting social and workers rights.

The insertion of a social clause in all Single Market legislation aiming at safeguarding labour law, working conditions and workers rights can build upon the positive acquis represented by article 1.6 and 1.7 and recital 14 of Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market.

The Commission has the duty to fulfil the objective of a thorough social impact assessment when developing Single Market legislation. In practice, a more ambitious approach on the proposal relating to the Posting of Workers Directive is needed, aiming at a revision of the directive which ensures, along with the economic freedoms, the protection of most advanced labour law and industrial relations standards and practices, as well as the respect of the rights of collective representation and bargaining, collective action, including the right to strike, and the full implementation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

The Commissions failure to meet the Parliaments request in its Resolution of October 2010 on the economic crisis, to introduce legislation and to bring legal certainty to Services of General Economic Interest is a reason for concern, having in mind that the Lisbon Treaty introduced a new legal base specifically for that purpose.

The Communication does not include a proposal on Services of General Interest as promised by the President of the European Commission. The Single Market Act should put emphasis also on Social Services. The Communication makes a reference of legislative proposals only on concessions and public procurements.

A consultation with the social partners in order to create a European framework for the advance planning of industrial restructuring is highly praised: sustainable industrial restructuring and a European framework of consultation with social partners are key to the development of a social friendly Single Market.

Consumer Rights

The legislative proposal on access to banking services and mortgage credit is welcome. Transparency relating to bank charges and mortgages credit real costs and conditions are essential both to protect consumers and investors and to guarantee sound and stable financial institutions, ensuring access to credit for citizens and small business.

Enhanced European market surveillance on safety of products, underlines the need for an efficient legal framework for product safety in the EU. It also supports the review of the General Product Safety Directive and the CE marking system to ensure that it could be considered as a safety signal by consumers.

Free movement of workers

The need to address still outstanding issues on free movement of workers is more and more urgent, in areas such as: recognition of professional qualifications; pension funds of mobile workers; training outside classroom and a skills passport; the ‘youth on the move’ card as well as the reinforcement of rights of air (and other) passengers.

The Commission’s Proposal to re-examine the Directive and to develop the Green Paper on Pensions is also welcome. It highlights the importance of adequate pensions and a sustainable pension system which is reached best by a solid tripartite system including public, occupational and private pension schemes guaranteed by specific regulation and supervision to protect investors.

Free movement of workers can be fostered through a European common policy for the development and valorisation of human capital based on knowledge and long life learning and of employability of workers able to adapt to changing production models and economic dynamics.

Deepening the Single Market for a Europe of Added Value

A Single Market for energy able to boost European economy and competitiveness, reducing external dependence and making energy prices more affordable is very clear now; legislative and non-legislative initiatives on energy should aim both at safeguarding the supply of energy through a diversified energy network, new infrastructures of renewable energy and coordinated research and development on new energy sources; such initiatives should be taken on a basis of close coordination between the Commission, the Member States and the relevant sectors of the industry.

A real deepening of the Single Market benefiting citizens, business and European competitiveness relies on the capacity to develop European Value Added projects in material and immaterial infrastructures to be steered and financed at EU level; the European Commission should come forward with appropriate legislative proposals in this area.

The intention to develop an European transport network by a common framework of European funding, boosting competitiveness and integration and facilitating citizens and workers mobility through affordable services is welcome; a high-speed public rail service connecting all Member States, together with plans to facilitate investment in its material and financial infrastructure are more and more pressing.

Socially Oriented Corporate Institutions

The Social Business Initiative to develop and support socially innovative corporate projects within the Single Market is very interesting and innovative; it draws attention to the contribution of social economy for a balanced development of the Single Market boosting growth, employment and social inclusion.

The need to further develop measures aiming at a responsible and accountable corporate management and governance is a way to give a positive contribution to the real economy and society; key objectives such as sound and responsible remuneration policies, adequate participation of women in management and decision-taking boards, valorisation of long-term shareholder commitment, enhancement of employee consultation, participation and shareholding schemes should be at the heart of the consultation and the consequent legislative measures.

The revision of or introduction of new legislation relating to Cooperatives, Foundations and Mutual Associations should be accompanied by specific regulation dealing with society and workers rights of information and consultation through the provision of community and workers councils.

Outstanding issues still call for a sound communication strategy: how citizens can be better involved and empowered through improved access to information; how to reach out more widely to citizens to ensure information about their rights in the Single Market including collective redress; how to improve cross border contacts; how to speed up recognition of professional qualifications to enhance mobility; how to increase research for more innovation.

This Act was adopted at the same time as the EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens rights, which focuses on eliminating obstacles encountered by the citizens when they travel, study, get married, retire, buy or inherit property or vote in another Member State. The Single Market Act and the Citizenship Report complement each other, being intended to overcome the continuing fragmentation of the European Union in areas of direct interest to citizens, in order to create a people’s Europe and an efficient Single Market to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses.

Priorities setting

There is a practical need of identifying priorities among the nineteen proposals. They should be selected according to five key values — basic social rights, free movement of workers, free movement of goods, socially oriented corporate institutions and consumer rights. However, quick practical results for the citizens are needed. The final setting of priorities in action shall bear in mind proposals that may bring tangible benefits for citizens and consumers (tangibility), and be easily attainable, in a relatively short period of time (feasibility).

A policy audit on the tangibility of all measures for the citizen is highly needed; an assessment of the ease of implementation of such measures (feasibility), starting with the 2011 plan is also a key concern. In the absence of such instruments, we identified five areas of immediate implementation during 2011:

I.                       To enhance European market surveillance, better access to basic banking services, a single integrated mortgage market, removing tax obstacles and double taxation;

II.                      The rapid and effective implementation of an e-commerce policy in order to increase citizens’ and consumers’ trust while shopping online;

III.         An action plan against counterfeiting and piracy as a major preventive tool, to guarantee that goods circulating in the Single Market are safe to consume, of the appropriate standards and legal;

IV.         The development, by the Commission and the Member States of an effective communication policy on the Single Market Act, based on a policy audit of its tangibility to citizens;

V.          A system of benchmarks, based on the horizontal social clause, to assess the relevance of all Single Market measures based on their social impact, tangibility and feasibility, to be used as a basis for future policy.

(1)

COM(2010)0608 .


OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (16.2.2011)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Rapporteur: José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Strongly believes that the Single Market Act needs to constitute a coherent and balanced package of measures in keeping with the spirit of the Grech report (A7-0132/10) and the Monti report, which lays the foundations for a Europe of Added Value for citizens as well as enterprises;

2.   Argues that relaunching and deepening the Single Market are essential in the context of EU policies to fight the effects of the financial and economic crisis, and as part of the EU 2020 strategy;

3.   Encourages Member States to eliminate mobility barriers for workers coming from new Member States, bearing in mind the positive effects of worker mobility in the context of the financial and economic crisis;

4.   Welcomes the SMA initiative and its balance between economic, social and governance objectives, but believes that the complementary nature of the various measures contained in the Monti report is not fully reflected in the SMA;

5.   Welcomes the inclusion of a review of the IORP Directive and calls on the Commission to add completion of the Single Euro Payments Area to its proposals;

6.   Welcomes the launch of a green paper on corporate governance but underlines the importance of taking further specific steps to promote sound and responsible remuneration policies, adequate participation of women in management and decision-taking boards, valorisation of long-term shareholder commitment and enhancement of employee consultation, participation and shareholding schemes;

7.   Calls on the Commission to take urgent measures to stabilise financial markets, ensure that those markets work for the benefit of the real economy and create an appropriately regulated and supervised single retail market, with the dual aim of achieving a high level of consumer protection and ensuring financial stability by avoiding bubbles, in particular with regard to real estate;

8.   Calls on the Commission to facilitate access to risk capital markets in order to provide much-needed credit to European businesses, mainly SMEs, investing in research, development and innovation, and to stimulate European exports;

9.   Calls on the Commission to review the proposal for a simplified taxation system for SMEs active in the Single Market;

10. Notes that the SMA initiative includes a commitment to bring forward, in 2011, a set of measures relating to services of general interest and, recalling the commitments made by President Barroso, calls for the Commission to develop sectoral quality frameworks;

11. Recalls the need to clarify the legal environment in the field of services of general interest and calls on the Commission to give in-depth consideration to the issue of coordinating social security schemes in relation to highly mobile people and those whose mobility should be encouraged;

12. Welcomes the fact that the Social Business Initiative will put the emphasis on financial solutions for social economy enterprises, which have proven to be particularly resilient in times of economic crisis and thus contribute to sustainable employment and growth, and recalls that various best-practice initiatives already exist in Member States, especially regarding the provision of equity and loans to such enterprises;

13. Urges the Commission to evaluate the impact of state aid and structural measures on competition in the context of the financial crisis;

14. Notes that any proposal on collective redress for infringements of competition law must be consistent with Parliament’s position as expressed in its resolution on 26 March 2009 on damages actions for breach of the EU antitrust rules, and insists that Parliament must be involved in the adoption of any such act by means of the ordinary legislative procedure; calls on the Commission to consider the case for minimum standards in relation to the right to compensation for damage resulting from a breach of EU law more generally;

15. Calls on the Commission to submit a proposal on financial services taxation which encompasses and coordinates all the levies and taxes currently under consideration, while respecting the prerogatives of the Member States, and to evaluate the case for and feasibility of a financial transactions tax applicable to all financial actors active in the European Union;

16. Calls for stronger action to avoid double taxation of European citizens;

17. Welcomes the proposal for universal access to basic banking services for all citizens in the EU;

18. Asks the Commission to investigate how appropriate Eurobonds are as a measure aimed at safeguarding financial stability in addition to promoting better balanced development;

19. Calls for Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund resources to be used in a strategic and appropriate manner and for the Trans-European Networks to be expanded with a view to developing the Single Market;

20. Calls on the Commission to indicate a timetable for implementation of the Single Market Act and to publish regular updates on tangible progress in order to make the EU public more aware of the Act’s implementation and highlight its benefits;

21. Emphasises the importance of measures designed to convince the public that the Single Market is in its best interests.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

14.2.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

32

6

0

Members present for the final vote

Burkhard Balz, Sharon Bowles, Udo Bullmann, Pascal Canfin, Nikolaos Chountis, George Sabin Cutaş, Leonardo Domenici, Derk Jan Eppink, Diogo Feio, Elisa Ferreira, Vicky Ford, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Sven Giegold, Sylvie Goulard, Liem Hoang Ngoc, Gunnar Hökmark, Wolf Klinz, Jürgen Klute, Philippe Lamberts, Werner Langen, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Ivari Padar, Alfredo Pallone, Anni Podimata, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Olle Schmidt, Peter Simon, Peter Skinner, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Ivo Strejček, Kay Swinburne, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Sophie Auconie, Elena Băsescu, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (16.2.2011)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Rapporteur: Liisa Jaakonsaari

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Takes the view that Europeans have not yet fully exploited the potential of the Single Market in many areas, including free circulation of persons, goods and services, and that new incentives are needed in particular to ensure effective geographical labour mobility across Europe;

2.   Stresses that the Single Market for Europeans is primarily about jobs and creating new jobs and that it is vital to create an environment where businesses and citizens can fully exercise their rights;

3.   Stresses that the Single Market offers great potential in terms of employment, growth and competitiveness and that it is necessary to adopt strong structural policies to fully exploit it;

4.   Welcomes Proposal 29 and the willingness of the Commission to implement the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the social clause (Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union); insists that these measures must be effective;

5.   Calls for respect, in all legislative proposals, for Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular with regard to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion, and the Union's growth and jobs objectives;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that services of general economic interest (SGEI) are secured within a framework of universal access, high quality, affordability and clear financing rules, believes that the Commission should take initiatives using all the options available to it, based upon and consistent with Article 14, Protocol 26 and Treaty provisions on subsidiarity and proportionality, to ensure legal certainty for providers in this respect; emphasises the importance of developing infrastructures for the large network industries and public services including energy, transport services such as Cross-European railway networks, and electronic communications, such as broadband access throughout the EU;

7.   Welcomes the proposed Decision establishing a European Radio Spectrum Action Programme, in particular the freeing of the 800 MHz digital dividend band by 2013 to allow broadband coverage of rural areas and fast internet access for all citizens;

8.   Calls on the Commission to safeguard the principle of subsidiarity and refrain from proposing a directive on concessions, given the substantive cultural differences between Member States in this field;

9.   Takes the view that the Single Market strategy should strengthen social welfare and workers' rights and ensure fair working conditions for all Europeans;

10. Welcomes the announced legislative initiative on the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC(1)), which must ensure respect for Member States’ industrial relations systems, equal treatment for all workers, collective bargaining, freedom of association and different forms of collective action; calls on the Member States to remedy shortcomings in the implementation of the Directive;

11. Calls for the Commission to launch an extended examination of the phenomenon of ‘social dumping’ in pay and working conditions within the internal market; underlines that the social partners and the national labour inspection authorities must play a crucial role in this examination; expects the Commission to propose new legal actions or additional implementation measures if appropriate;

12. Calls on the Commission to revise the Directives on public procurement in order to allow the Member States to adopt and implement higher social and economic standards at national or local level;

13. Believes that pension systems should generally continue to be regulated at the national level and that reforms should be aimed at reinforcing and complementing the first pillar; calls on the Member States to coordinate their pension policies more effectively and to exchange best practices at European level; calls on the Commission to assess the need for different rules affecting the pension funds and the need to improve the portability of pensions, including the preservation of pension rights including corporate pension rights when changing employers; calls on the Commission to strengthen the regulations concerning the transparency of pension schemes, involving social partners in the process at an early stage;

14. Notes the willingness of the Commission to more effectively support social dialogue; welcomes accordingly Proposal 32 of the Single Market Act; calls on the Commission to launch a genuine consultation with the social partners and other stakeholders, including proposals for a code of conduct to be negotiated by the social partners guaranteeing social dialogue, anticipation and timely communication, multi-stakeholder involvement, professional transitions for all, consideration of the health dimension of change and employment, and with a view to creating a European mechanism for industrial restructuring, so that resources can be redirected into emerging sectors more effectively and employees can be offered more and better new opportunities;

15. Stresses the vital importance of training and qualifications, these being fundamental elements for the creation of jobs and social integration and consequently the success of the Single Market;

16. Welcomes Proposals 32 and 35 relating to recognition of qualifications and validation of experience gained; asks that this be integrated into the European Qualifications Framework and taken into account in the collective agreements of sectors and/or enterprises according to the procedures of each Member State;

17. Welcomes the Commission's intention to revise the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC(2)); calls on the Commission to launch a study on the introduction of a professional card which could contain, inter alia, information on qualifications, work experience and tax compliance while observing personal data protection rules; proposes that consideration be given to combining the skills passport with the professional card so that there is a single, uniform card at EU level;

18. Welcomes the ‘Youth on the move card’ in order to improve young people’s studying, training and employment conditions abroad; points to the fact that this initiative is by no means sufficient to combat the alarming level of youth unemployment in Europe;

19. Welcomes the proposals supporting the innovative potential of the social economy and insists that the internal market should respect the diversity of legal entities; regards the diversity of business models represented inter alia by cooperatives and mutual societies as a common good that has proven its resilience in the crisis and should be treasured; draws attention to the part of the social and green economy involving cooperatives, mutual societies, associations and foundations, which plays an especially valuable role in creating sustainable employment and growth and combating poverty and exclusion; calls for measures to set up distinct European statutes for foundations, mutual societies and associations to prevent legal uncertainty, facilitate cross-border operations and ensure that such socially oriented and innovative enterprises are able to make the most of their economic and social potential in the Single Market;

20. Asks for the social economy to be integrated more fully in the national action plans developed under the auspices of international organisations in the field of social inclusion, and for greater promotion of the social economy through structural funding and social innovation programmes; welcomes the identification of social economy enterprises as part of the resources for the social market economy and calls for measures to improve their cross-border access and to maximise their entrepreneurial and employment potential in the Single Market; suggests, therefore, the establishment of close cooperation and common deliberations in the case of decisions of the EPSCO and the ECOFIN Council formations;

21. Welcomes the Commission's proposal on a consultation regarding the Statute for a European Cooperative Society in order to make it more attractive for entrepreneurs;

22. Recalls that, in its resolution on the social economy, the European Parliament demanded better recognition for social economy enterprises, including generalised integration of the concept in EU policies, intensified dialogue with social economy representatives, better business support and recognition in social dialogue; recalls that in the same resolution, the European Parliament called for national registers to take social economy enterprises into account and for specific statistics on the activity of social economy enterprises;

23. Welcomes Proposal No 38 and the Commission initiative to enhance corporate governance and social responsibility with the specific goal of increasing employee involvement and improving the transparency of information provided by businesses, including social and environmental reporting and management remuneration and respect for human rights; calls particularly for the promotion of employee shareholding schemes, the strengthening of long-term shareholder commitment and the promotion of information and consultation rights for employees and their representatives, together with boardroom participation rights; underlines that increased transparency, good relations with personnel, and production processes which are in accordance with sustainable development are also in the interest of businesses, their owners and those who invest in them;

24. Emphasises the need to adopt an ambitious European industrial policy with the objective of strengthening the real economy and of achieving the transition to a more intelligent and sustainable one.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

14.2.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

13

18

Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Pervenche Berès, Mara Bizzotto, Philippe Boulland, Milan Cabrnoch, David Casa, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Marije Cornelissen, Tadeusz Cymański, Karima Delli, Proinsias De Rossa, Frank Engel, Sari Essayah, Richard Falbr, Ilda Figueiredo, Thomas Händel, Marian Harkin, Roger Helmer, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Martin Kastler, Ádám Kósa, Patrick Le Hyaric, Veronica Lope Fontagné, Olle Ludvigsson, Elizabeth Lynne, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Csaba Őry, Siiri Oviir, Rovana Plumb, Konstantinos Poupakis, Sylvana Rapti, Licia Ronzulli, Elisabeth Schroedter, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Jutta Steinruck, Traian Ungureanu

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Françoise Castex, Jelko Kacin, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Evelyn Regner, Emilie Turunen

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Catherine Bearder

(1)

OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, p. 1.

(2)

OJ L 271, 16.10.2007, p. 18.


OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs (1.3.2011)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Rapporteur: Toine Manders

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Firmly believes that the only way in which the social market economy can be preserved is through revitalising enterprise and in particular the small-business sector and having the same legislation, thereby producing legal certainty in the Member States for citizens and enterprises, preferably through regulations; considers that what is needed is broader horizons and a leap of the imagination on the part of the European Institutions;

2.  Takes the view that, in order to guarantee that Single Market measures are citizen-centred, it is important to insert a social clause in all single-market legislation as provided for by the Lisbon Treaty, aiming at promotion of a high level of employment, adequate social protection (by safeguarding labour law, working conditions and workers’ rights in particular) and of the fight against social exclusion, etc. by building upon the positive acquis represented by Directive 2006/123/EC and Council Regulation 1998/2679/EC; stresses the role of services of general economic interest (SGEI) for their contribution to the overall competitiveness of the European economy, and to evolving markets and technologies, and for their essential and universal role as basic rights of European citizens; stresses the need to take further action in relation to corporate governance and corporate social responsibility for the development of policies leading towards sound and responsible remuneration policies, employee consultation and participation and valorisation of long-term shareholder commitment; highlights the role of social economy entities, which represent a valuable alternative business model and operate successfully in the market by providing services, employment and social inclusion; calls on the Commission to consider proposals for different European statutes for associations, mutual societies and foundations and to take support measures to make possible the further development of the Statute for a European Cooperative Society (SCE) in order to create a ‘level playing field’ with other types of enterprises;

3.  Points out that, although the non-economic rights of persons who have exercised their single-market rights are not covered by the Commission’s communication, the promised efforts to improve the existing situation as regards civil status documents would sit well with the Commission’s idea of introducing a European skills passport and a ‘Youth on the Move’ card; particularly appreciates the idea of creating European student mobility loans to give more young Europeans, in particular the most disadvantaged among them, the opportunity to experience a period of study, training or job placement in another country, and strongly supports the development of the Commission’s ‘Youth on the Move’ website, which should become a leading source of information for young people looking for self-development opportunities in Europe; considers that the European institutions can set a good example in this connection by increasing the number and range of traineeships (stages) and abolishing the unpaid stage as discriminatory;

4.  Stresses further that local authorities are concerned about the legal insecurity in which their interventions in favour of the SGEIs and SSGIs for which they are responsible have to take place;

5.  Welcomes proposal 29 and the willingness of the Commission to implement the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the social clause (Art. 9 TFEU);

6.  Emphasises the lack of direct communication with citizens and takes the view that the EU’s representations in the Member States must be mandated to respond immediately to negative and misleading reports in the media by presenting the facts, and should make further efforts to provide information on European legislation, projects and programmes, thereby also promoting informed debate on European issues; further advocates the use of modern technology in its most extensive and imaginative forms, including role-playing video games which young people can play in a competitive way at European level (e.g. as part of an EU competition for schools), and the provision of other interactive methods as a tool to help children learn and inform themselves about how the economy and the EU work;

7.  Considers that the Commission should sponsor a European skills exchange whereby small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from the skills available in larger enterprises, thereby promoting synergies and mentoring;

8.  Further points out in this connection that, in the present economic climate, businesses and the public sector are increasingly having recourse to unpaid internships or stages in order to avoid taking young persons on under a contract of employment; takes the view, without detracting in any way from the usefulness of such measures in affording young people work experience, that a model for a European scheme for a cross-border short-term employment contract should be created in order to enable young people to gain experience in their chosen field in a country other than their own without any risk to the employer; believes that the European skills exchange proposed in the previous paragraph could be used to administer this scheme by matching job-seekers and employers, assisting with the administrative formalities and providing grants for participating SMEs; strongly believes that the benefits for the young people concerned (work experience and the possibility of a permanent job, language learning, skills acquisition, etc), for business (development of cross-border trade, increase in the pool of potential employees, etc) and for the EU as a whole (benefits in terms of social cohesion, positive effect on intra-Union trade and on employment, increased geographical mobility) would be substantial;

9.  Points out that citizens feel aggrieved at the low rates of interest available from savings accounts at banks and that small businesses find it difficult to raise money at economic rates of interest, if at all; believes therefore that peer-to-peer lending should be fostered, if necessary through legislation, at European level; likewise believes that the Commission should be considering how to encourage and promote business-angel and mentoring systems at European level; takes the view that all of this could be combined with a citizens’ portal for small business;

10. Takes the view that SMEs should be empowered to make extensive use of e-commerce in Europe; deplores the fact that the Commission will not be coming out with a proposal for a European system for the settlement of online disputes for digital transactions until 2012, twelve years after Parliament called for such an initiative in September 2000(1);

11. Advocates more practical support for cross-frontier European cooperatives and other means of fostering collaborative ventures between SMEs, and trusts that the proposals for regulations on Statutes for a European mutual society and a European association will be revived, having been withdrawn by the Commission against Parliament’s advice; firmly believes that such initiatives, together with those mentioned above, can give people the means of exploiting their talents and creativity, provide jobs and make for optimism and hope;

12. Highlights that, in order to create a better understanding for and of the functioning of the European institutions, European citizens should be able to have all kinds of online information adequately translated via accessible and easy-to-use online translation machines, so they can enjoy reading the desired information in their own language;

13. Points out that the effectiveness and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged EU can and should be improved, since the support of European citizens for the EU is clearly eroding; is of the opinion that too little time and effort is spent and that an incorrect method is being used to bring the people of Europe together, which should be the core business of the EU; therefore asks for more to be done by the Member States and the EU institutions to create support for the EU and to encourage Europeans to espouse the EU’s values and convince them of the usefulness, benefits and positive effects of the EU.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.2.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

18

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Françoise Castex, Christian Engström, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Alajos Mészáros, Bernhard Rapkay, Evelyn Regner, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Alexandra Thein, Cecilia Wikström, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Piotr Borys, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Sajjad Karim, Eva Lichtenberger, Toine Manders

(1)

Wallis Report on the proposal for a Council regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, A5-0253/2000.


OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (1.3.2011)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Rapporteur: Wim van de Camp

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Commission Communication ‘Towards a Single Market Act’, but regrets the unsatisfactory pace of implementation of Single Market legislation; calls on the Member States to accelerate the process and to fully and correctly implement existing legislation, including the Services Directive and the Goods Package;

2.  Stresses that it is not just Single Market legislation which is implemented and applied poorly by the Member States, but also other legislation affecting the rights of European citizens and other legal residents; calls upon the Member States to ensure better implementation of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) in particular;

3.  Calls for better involvement of European citizens in the process of creating the Single Market; calls on the national parliaments, regional and local authorities and social partners to take an active part in communicating the benefits of the Single Market;

4.  Calls upon the Commission to make sure that citizens are actively involved in consultations, dialogues and expert groups relating to the Single Market, whilst ensuring balanced representation by all stakeholders, including civil society and small and medium-sized enterprises;

5.  Urges Member States not to look at the Commission proposal on a horizontal antidiscrimination directive (COM(2008 0426) only in terms of costs, but also in terms of potential benefits when people who previously did not feel safe and secure in certain areas start to access services there;

6.  Regards the fact that certain Member States are not recognising the full equality of same-sex partners when they are trying to exercise their free-movement rights as regrettable and as something that their leaders of tomorrow will hopefully be ashamed of;

7.  Strongly supports the ‘25 actions to improve the daily life of EU citizens’ contained in the EU Citizenship report 2010 (COM(2010)0603), particularly the ones related to increasing protection of victims, suspects and accused persons;

8.  Calls upon the Commission to provide more information to victims, suspects and accused persons via its e-Justice portal and to make sure that at least a link to this information is available on the ‘Your Europe’ portal to ensure availability of a one-stop shop;

9.  Urges the Member States to implement Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market more quickly and to quickly set up the Framework Directive on Services of General Economic Interest;

10. Calls on the Member States to ensure that there is true freedom of movement for citizens, in particular through mutual recognition of professional qualifications and school diplomas, as well as portability of social benefits across borders;

11. Points out the need to evaluate the state of implementation of all Single Market legislation by Member States in a faster and clearer manner;

12. Welcomes the Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare and calls on Member States to implement it fully;

13. Stresses that demographic challenges require a strategy which would help create jobs that fill the gaps in the EU labour market;

14. Underlines that the free movement of workers and services has been one of the basic principles of the Single Market from the Rome Treaty onwards; considers that removing remaining barriers regarding EU labour mobility would contribute to the full utilisation of all Single Market freedoms and would help reduce undeclared work and unemployment;

15. Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States that are still applying restrictions on their labour markets to review their transitional provisions in order to open the labour markets to all European workers, thus maintaining employment in the EU during the global economic crisis;

16. Considers an influx of highly qualified migrants and seasonal workers to be beneficial to the European economy; calls on the Member States, therefore, to actively fast-track the removal of restrictions in place in their labour markets for all EU citizens; in addition, calls on the Commission to further develop immigration policy in respect of those groups, bearing in mind the need not to empty the countries of origin of their vital human resources, while simultaneously improving the management of external borders and prevention of illegal immigration;

17. Reiterates that Member States should reject applications for highly qualified employment of third-country nationals in those labour market sectors for which access for workers from other Member States is restricted on the basis of transitional provisions; giving preference to EU workers would help avoid inconsistencies in the area of EU Single Market;

18. Considers the fight against corruption and organised crime essential to the proper functioning of the internal market and calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue their work in this field, using all available instruments, including the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification;

19. Stresses the need to include the aims of the Stockholm Programme, in particular open borders and the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, in drawing up the Single Market Act.

***RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.2.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Sonia Alfano, Alexander Alvaro, Rita Borsellino, Simon Busuttil, Carlos Coelho, Cornelis de Jong, Kinga Gál, Kinga Göncz, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sylvie Guillaume, Ágnes Hankiss, Salvatore Iacolino, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Lívia Járóka, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Véronique Mathieu, Louis Michel, Claude Moraes, Georgios Papanikolaou, Judith Sargentini, Birgit Sippel, Renate Sommer, Rui Tavares, Wim van de Camp, Daniël van der Stoep, Axel Voss, Renate Weber, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Leonidas Donskis, Monika Hohlmeier, Franziska Keller, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Cecilia Wikström

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Marina Yannakoudakis


OPINION of the Committee on Petitions (2.2.2011)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on a Single Market for Europeans

(2010/2278(INI))

Rapporteur: Erminia Mazzoni

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Petitions calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Supports the Commission’s idea of initiating, with the Single Market Act, a global and pragmatic debate throughout Europe on the benefits and costs of the internal market, and asks the Commission to ensure the effective application of internal market rules which reduce the administrative burden on citizens;

2.  Welcomes the objective of placing European citizens at the heart of the Single Market as protagonists in a boost to economic recovery in Europe, with a view to restoring confidence in the Single Market;

3.  Shares the conviction that full realisation of the European Single Market should form the basis for completion of the process of political and economic integration;

4.  Shares the objective of building together a single competitive market at European level and shares the aspiration toward a more ambitious social market policy capable of meeting the challenges we face today, creating new job opportunities and promoting smart, green and inclusive growth for the benefit of both business and citizens;

5.  Welcomes the Commission’s appeal to the Member States to reduce their transposition deficit in respect of the Single Market directives to 0.5% and to provide correlation tables of their implementing measures;

6.  Reiterates its demands for a strict reduction in the length of the infringement procedures initiated by the Commission to bring Member States into compliance with EU legislation, but deplores the fact that such procedures have no direct effect on EU citizens or residents who may have been victims of a lack of enforcement of EU law;

7.  Affirms that the Member States have a duty to adopt and implement European legislation on the internal market and on European citizens’ rights in relation to it;

8.  Supports the wish of the Commission to increase consultation with civil society (stakeholders, NGOs, trade unions, employers, etc.) in the preparation of legislative texts regarding the internal market;

9.  Believes that the petitions process can make a positive contribution in helping citizens to take advantage of the internal market;

10. Considers that the EU must change citizens’ perceptions of the Single Market by making people aware of and able to understand the benefits it offers;

11. Invites the Commission to adopt a clear and readily accessible ‘Citizens’ Charter’ on the right to live and work everywhere in the EU, and to develop targeted multilingual, communication about the everyday problems that citizens encounter when moving, shopping or selling across Europe, as well as the social, health, consumer-protection and environmental-protection standards on which they can rely;

12. Asks for real action to promote one-stop shops for citizens seeking advice on EU rights, in order to make European citizens aware of the reality of the internal market, and believes that Parliament too should be directly involved in this effort as part of its communication strategy;

13. Calls on the Commission to put forward practical proposals to extend consumer protection against unfair commercial practices to small businesses and individuals;

14. Encourages recourse to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms within the framework of the internal market, with the option of having recourse to them through an online procedure;

15. Notes the positive role of SOLVIT in cost saving for European citizens and in informally solving problems that arise for citizens and businesses as a result of public authorities’ misapplication of internal market law;

16. Notes with particular interest all the efforts aimed at providing the EU with a modern and more efficient and effective transport network which, by eliminating distance, brings European citizens closer and helps to strengthen a sense of belonging and citizenship;

17. Considers that improvement of consumer protection regimes and of data protection across the EU is a means of ensuring consumer confidence in online cross-border transactions;

18. Emphasises that implementation of the Single Market must proceed with full respect for the rights of citizens and residents of the Union, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

1.2.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Elena Băsescu, Victor Boştinaru, Philippe Boulland, Simon Busuttil, Michael Cashman, Giles Chichester, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Roger Helmer, Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo, Peter Jahr, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Erminia Mazzoni, Judith A. Merkies, Willy Meyer, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, Rainer Wieland

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Tamás Deutsch, Axel Voss


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

16.3.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

3

13

Members present for the final vote

Pablo Arias Echeverría, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Jürgen Creutzmann, Evelyne Gebhardt, Louis Grech, Małgorzata Handzlik, Iliana Ivanova, Philippe Juvin, Sandra Kalniete, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Kurt Lechner, Hans-Peter Mayer, Gianni Pittella, Mitro Repo, Robert Rochefort, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Matteo Salvini, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler, Eva-Britt Svensson, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Emilie Turunen, Bernadette Vergnaud

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Pascal Canfin, Ashley Fox, María Irigoyen Pérez, George Lyon, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Amalia Sartori, Olga Sehnalová

Last updated: 24 March 2011Legal notice