Full text 
Procedure : 2016/2248(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0016/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 14/02/2017 - 18
CRE 14/02/2017 - 18

Votes :

PV 15/02/2017 - 7.13
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 187kWORD 52k
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 - Strasbourg
Single Market Governance within the European Semester 2017

European Parliament resolution of 15 February 2017 on the Annual Report on the Single Market Governance within the European Semester 2017 (2016/2248(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2016 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2016(1), and to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 27 April 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2015 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2015(2), and to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 3 June 2015,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2014 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2014(3), and to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 28 May 2014,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on the governance of the Single Market(4), and to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 8 May 2013,

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2016 on the Single Market Strategy(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2016 on non-tariff barriers in the single market(6),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2015 on the Annual Growth Survey 2016 – Strengthening the recovery and fostering convergence (COM(2015)0690),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 November 2016 on the Annual Growth Survey 2017 (COM(2016)0725),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 October 2015 on ‘Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business’ (COM(2015)0550) and the report on ‘Single Market Integration and Competitiveness in the EU and its Member States’ (SWD(2015)0203),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 May 2015 on ‘A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2015)0192),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 June 2012 on ‘Better Governance for the Single Market’ (COM(2012)0259),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 June 2012 on the implementation of the Services Directive (COM(2012)0261), as updated in October 2015,

–  having regard to the study of September 2014 entitled ‘The Cost of Non-Europe in the Single Market’ commissioned by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 October 2015 on steps towards completing Economic and Monetary Union (COM(2015)0600),

–  having regard to the study of September 2014 entitled ‘Indicators for Measuring the Performance of the Single Market – Building the Single Market Pillar of the European Semester’ commissioned by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

–  having regard to the study of September 2014 entitled ‘Contribution of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection to Growth’ commissioned by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

–  having regard to the July 2016 edition of the online Single Market Scoreboard,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 17-18 March 2016,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28 June 2016,

–  having regard to Protocol No 1 on the role of National Parliaments in the European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0016/2017),

A.  whereas delivering a deeper and fairer single market will be instrumental in creating new jobs, promoting productivity and ensuring an attractive climate for investment and innovation, as well as a consumer-friendly environment;

B.  whereas this requires a renewed focus across Europe, including the timely completion and implementation of different single market strategies, in particular the Digital Single Market strategy;

C.  whereas this renewed focus must also include the implications of Brexit, inter alia for the free movement of goods and services, the right of establishment, the customs union and the internal market acquis in general;

D.  whereas, following the economic crisis which began in 2008, the EU is still having to face a period of stagnation with sluggish economic recovery, high rates of unemployment and social vulnerabilities; whereas, on a more positive note, the motto of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) for 2016 was ‘strengthening recovery and fostering convergence’;

E.  whereas the AGS 2017 recalls the need to achieve an inclusive economic recovery which takes the social dimension of the single market into account, and whereas the AGS 2017 also emphasises the need for Europe to invest strongly in its young people and jobseekers, as well as in its start-ups and SMEs;

F.  whereas, despite economic recovery, unemployment remains far too high in many parts of Europe, and whereas the prolonged period of high unemployment is taking its social toll on many Member States;

G.  whereas the European Semester aims to increase the coordination of economic and fiscal policies across the EU in order to enhance stability, promote growth and employment and strengthen competitiveness in line with the objectives of social fairness and protection of the most vulnerable in society; whereas this aim has not been achieved;

H.  whereas the single market is one of the cornerstones of the EU and one of its major achievements; whereas for the European Semester to successfully foster economic growth and stabilise economies, it must equally encompass the single market and policies aimed at its completion;

Strengthening the single market pillar of the European Semester

1.  Reiterates that the single market is one of the foundations of the EU and is the backbone of Member States’ economies and of the European project as a whole; notes that the single market remains fragmented and insufficiently implemented and has great potential for growth, innovation and jobs; stresses that for the EU to successfully strengthen its recovery, foster convergence and support investments in its young people and jobseekers, as well as in start-ups and SMEs, the single market plays an essential role; calls on the Commission to ensure the completion of all dimensions of the single market, including goods, services, capital, labour, energy, transport, and in the digital sector;

2.  Reiterates its call for the creation of a strong single market pillar with a social dimension within the European Semester, with a system of regular monitoring and identification of the country-specific barriers to the single market, which have tended to be introduced lately with a greater impact, frequency and scope in Member States; calls for an in-depth evaluation of single market integration and internal competitiveness; insists that the evaluation of the state of single market integration should become an integral part of the economic governance framework;

3.  Recalls that the European Semester was introduced in 2010 with the aim of ensuring that Member States discuss their economic and budgetary plans with their EU partners at specific times throughout the year, allowing them to comment on each other's plans and monitor progress collectively; stresses the importance of maintaining a focus on social performance as well as the promotion of upward economic and social convergence;

4.  Stresses that the single market pillar within the European Semester should serve to identify the key areas, as regards all dimensions of the single market, for the creation of growth and jobs; stresses, furthermore, that it should also serve as a benchmark for commitment to structural reform in Member States;

5.  Highlights that the single market pillar within the European Semester would allow a regular evaluation of the governance of the single market through systematic checks of national legislation and data analytics tools for detecting non-compliance, improving the monitoring of the single market legislation, enabling the institutions with the necessary information to redesign, implement, apply and enforce the single market regulatory framework and delivering concrete results to the citizens;

6.  Welcomes the Commission’s efforts to ensure that the benefits of globalisation and technological change are distributed fairly across different groups of society, in particular among young people; calls for awareness to be raised at all levels about the impact of policies and reforms on income distribution, guaranteeing equality, fairness and inclusiveness;

7.  Believes that, with regard to national measures or implementation, early intervention may be more effective and better results achieved than through infringement procedures; stresses, nevertheless, that if the early intervention proceedings do not give results, the Commission must use all available measures, including infringement procedures, to ensure full implementation of legislation on the single market;

8.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to take full account of the key growth and job-creation areas for building an EU single market fit for the 21st century, as previously identified by the Commission and further specified in the study of September 2014 entitled ‘The Cost of Non-Europe in the Single Market’ and including services, the Digital Single Market and in particular e-commerce, the consumer acquis, public procurement and concessions and the free movement of goods;

9.  Urges the Commission to carry out systematic monitoring of implementation and enforcement of the single market rules through the country-specific recommendations (CSRs), in particular where those rules make a contribution to structural reforms, and recalls in this context the importance of the new approach taken by the Commission, which emphasises social fairness; invites the Commission to report to Parliament on the progress made by Member States in the implementation of the CSRs related to the functioning of the single market and integration of products, goods and services markets, as part of the Annual Growth Survey package;

10.  Recalls that the overall implementation of the key reforms outlined in the CSRs is still disappointing in some areas and varies across countries; calls on the Member States to speed up progress on the adoption of reforms in line with the CSRs, together with appropriate sequencing and implementation, in order to raise growth potential and foster economic, social and territorial cohesion;

11.  Believes that the ownership of the CSRs by national parliaments needs to be strengthened; encourages the Member States to provide for the possibility of the Commission presenting the CSRs in the national parliaments; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to implement the CSRs; reiterates its request that the Commission report to the competent committee of Parliament on the measures taken to ensure progress in the implementation of the CSRs and the progress achieved thus far;

12.  Invites the Competitiveness Council to take an active role in the monitoring of the implementation of CSRs by Member States as well as in the process of formulating those recommendations;

13.  Highlights that among the goals of the Investment Plan for Europe are removing unnecessary barriers, increasing innovation and deepening the single market while fostering investments in human capital and social infrastructure;

14.  Stresses that improving the investment environment means strengthening the single market by providing greater regulatory predictability and by reinforcing the level playing field in the EU and removing unnecessary barriers to investment both from within and outside the EU; recalls that sustainable investments require a solid and predictable business environment; notes that several work strands have been launched at EU level, as laid out in the Single Market Strategy, the Energy Union and the Digital Single Market, and considers that this EU effort needs to be accompanied by an effort at national level;

15.  Recalls that the new set of recommendations for the euro area include reforms aimed at ensuring open and competitive product and services markets; recalls also that national and trans-border innovation and competition is key to a functioning single market and believes that European legislation should seek to ensure this;

16.  Supports the Commission’s call on Member States to redouble their efforts on the three elements of the triangle of economic policy, and in so doing, put the focus on social fairness in order to deliver more inclusive growth;

17.  Shares the Commission’s view that convergence efforts compatible with the single market must be based on best practices on lifelong learning strategies, effective policies to help the unemployed re-enter the labour market, modern and inclusive social protection and education systems;

Tapping the potential of the single market in key growth areas

18.  Stresses that, despite the abolition of tariff barriers in the single market, a vast number of various unnecessary non-tariff barriers (NTBs) still exist; highlights that strengthening the single market requires urgent action at both EU and national level in order to address those unnecessary NTBs in a way which is compatible with the promotion of social, consumer and environmental standards, in order to generate more competition and create growth and jobs; emphasises that protectionism and discriminatory measures by Member States should not be tolerated; recalls its request that the Commission present in 2016 a comprehensive overview of NTBs in the single market and an analysis of the means for tackling them, making a clear distinction between an NTB and regulations for implementing a legitimate public policy objective of a Member State in a proportionate manner, including an ambitious proposal to eliminate these NTBs as soon as possible in order to unleash the still untapped potential of the single market;

19.  Highlights that barriers related to the free provision of services are of particular concern as they hamper, above all, the cross-border activity of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are a driving force of development of the EU economy; points out that disproportionate administrative requirements, inspections and sanctions can lead to the reversal of single market achievements;

20.  Emphasises the Single Market Strategy and its targeted actions, which should be aimed at creating opportunities for consumers, professionals and businesses, especially for SMEs, encouraging and enabling the modernisation and innovation that Europe needs, and ensuring practical delivery that benefits consumers and businesses in their daily lives; urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure the best possible conditions for the collaborative economy to develop and thrive; underlines that the collaborative economy holds enormous potential in terms of growth and consumer choice;

21.  Calls on the Member States to introduce reforms and policies to facilitate the diffusion of new technologies to ensure that their benefits can spill over a wider range of firms; calls on the Commission to promptly present the concrete proposals, referred to in the AGS 2017, linked to the enforcement of single market rules as well as measures in the area of business services, including facilitating their cross-border provision and the creation of a simple, modern and fraud-proof VAT system;

22.  Welcomes the Commission’s announcement in the AGS 2017 of the ongoing work on a single EU authorisation framework that would directly apply to large projects with a cross-border dimension or major investment platforms that involve national co-financing;

23.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the EU public procurement rules are implemented in a timely manner, in particular the deployment of e-procurement and the new provisions encouraging the division of contracts into lots, which is essential to foster innovation and competition and to support SMEs in procurement markets;

24.  Emphasises, in respect of the single market in services, that there is a clear need to improve the cross-border provision of services while maintaining the high quality of these services; takes note of the Commission proposal for a European services card and for a harmonised notification form; encourages the Commission to review market developments and, if necessary, take action in connection with insurance requirements for business and construction service providers;

25.  Notes that more than 5 500 professions across Europe require specific qualifications or a specific title, and welcomes, in this context, the mutual evaluation of regulated professions conducted by the Commission with the Member States;

26.  Calls on the Commission to act strongly against protectionism by Member States; considers that Member States should refrain from discriminatory measures, such as trade and tax laws that only affect certain sectors or business models that distort competition, making it difficult for foreign businesses to establish themselves in a given Member State, which constitutes a clear breach of internal market principles;

27.  Anticipates, in respect of the single market in goods, a Commission proposal for a revision of the Mutual Recognition Regulation which should ensure that companies have an effective right to free circulation within the EU of products that are lawfully marketed in a Member State; emphasises that the principle of mutual recognition is not applied and respected properly by Member States, which often makes companies focus on overcoming the difficulties connected to the lack of implementation instead of conducting business;

28.  Calls on the Commission to press forward with its vision for a single and coherent European Standardisation System that adapts to the changing environment, supports multiple policies and brings benefits to consumers and businesses; highlights that European standards are frequently adopted worldwide, not only bringing the benefits of interoperability and safety, cost reductions and easier integration of companies into the value chain and trade, but also empowering industry through internationalisation;

29.  Takes the view that advancing the Digital Single Market is crucial to stimulating growth, creating quality jobs, promoting necessary innovation in the EU market, keeping the European economy globally competitive and bringing benefits to both businesses and consumers; calls on the Member States to fully cooperate in implementing the Digital Single Market;

Strengthening the governance of the single market

30.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to improve governance of the single market by developing a set of analytical tools including social indicators to more properly measure its performance within the framework of the single market pillar of the European Semester; believes that such an analytical tool could provide useful input for the CSRs, the AGS, the European Council’s guidance to Member States and the national action plans aimed at implementing the single market guidelines;

31.  Calls for the framework for single market governance to be enforced and for the monitoring and assessment of the correct, timely and effective implementation and application of single market rules to be strengthened; calls on the Member States to enhance their performance in the use of the single market governance tools and to better use the Single Market Scoreboard data available for each Member State as well as their evolution in terms of policy performance;

32.  Is still of the opinion that there is a need to define an integrated measurement system, combining different methodologies such as composite indicators, a systematic set of indicators and sectorial tools, so as to measure the performance of the single market for the purpose of embedding it in the European Semester; calls on the Commission, in order both to measure and to provide an impetus for deepening the single market in key priority areas, to consider a headline indicator and a target for this indicator as regards single market integration;

33.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to introduce, where justified, quantitative targets for the reduction of unnecessary administrative burdens at European level; asks that these quantitative targets be considered in the Commission’s new initiative on reducing administrative burdens;

34.  Believes that Member States have to step up their efforts to modernise their public administrations by providing more, and better accessible, digital services for citizens and businesses, and to facilitate cross-border cooperation and interoperability of public administrations;

35.  Calls on the Commission to precede each legislative initiative with a thorough impact assessment which takes into account the consequences of the act for the business environment in all Member States and to carefully assess the right balance between costs and objectives of the project for the EU as a whole;

36.  Calls on the Commission to rigorously pursue its actions in the area of smart enforcement and a culture of compliance, so as to remedy the situation whereby not all the opportunities that the single market offers on paper are a reality today because EU law has not been fully implemented and enforced;

37.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the market surveillance mechanism to detect unsafe and non-compliant products and to remove them from the single market; calls again for the immediate adoption of the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package by the Council;

38.  Welcomes and eagerly anticipates the Commission initiative to create a Single Digital Gateway to build on and improve existing tools and services, such as the Points of Single Contact, the Product Contact Points, the Product Contact Points for Construction, the Your Europe portal and SOLVIT, in a user-friendly way for the benefit of both citizens and businesses;

39.  Acknowledges the positive role of the ‘EU Sweeps’ actions, launched by the Commission to enhance enforcement through coordinated control actions to identify breaches of consumer law in the online environment;

40.  Recognises the importance of better regulation principles and the REFIT initiative, ensuring more coherence in current and future legislation while preserving the regulatory sovereignty and the need for regulatory security and predictability;

41.  Stresses the importance of the Commission's help and cooperation with Member States in the field of better transposition, implementation and application of single market legislation; stresses, in this context, the need for further actions at national level, including with a view to reducing administrative burdens and avoiding adding additional requirements when transposing directives into national law (‘gold-plating’), such as tax barriers to cross-border investment;

42.  Stresses that the single market should continue to work for all actors – EU citizens, in particular students, professionals and entrepreneurs, especially SMEs – in all Member States, which should remain in permanent dialogue and should be committed to assessing what works and what does not, and in what way single market policy should be developed in the future; highlights, in this context, the role of the Single Market Forum organised annually by the Commission in cooperation with local partners such as national authorities, civil society stakeholders, social partners, chambers of commerce and business associations;

o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0060.
(2) OJ C 316, 30.8.2016, p. 98.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0130.
(4) OJ C 24, 22.1.2016, p. 75.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0237.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0236.

Legal notice - Privacy policy