Introductory remarks by Jerzy Buzek at the presentation of the single market report by former Commissioner Mario Monti at the IMCO Committee
Dear Professor Monti,
I am delighted that we can discuss Mr. Monti's report on how to complete the internal market. The timing for such a discussion is very appropriate considering the unprecedented financial and economic crisis Europe is facing.
The great achievement of the European Union is both the Single Market and the Single Currency. Our economic integration is what has allowed Europe to prosper.
Let us not forget that the GDP of the EU was 1.8% higher (almost €165 billion) after a decade of the internal market being operational.
In that first decade about 2.5 million jobs were created which led to extra prosperity of some €877 billion added.
Today, we not only must defend the internal market, we need to expand it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The four freedoms in goods, services, capital and people, and now the fifth freedom of knowledge, are the backbone of the European Union.
But we need to complete the Single Market so that we can generate the growth we need. We still have work to do.
In goods, we need to create better European Standards.
With the freedom of movement of People, we need to extend the Schengen area, end transition periods, but we also should be pro-active and invest in language training so that we can increase the mobility of our workers.
Perhaps every student leaving school in Europe should be bi-lingual or even tri-lingual?
In capital flows, there has to be better monitoring and regulation of the market so that we can avoid some of the mistakes of the past.
The Services Directive we passed in this House last term has still to be implemented by all Member States even though the deadline was December 2009. We need to get a revised version approved as soon as possible.
We need to also expand e-commerce and create a genuine Europe wide digital economy.
Today, 74% of Americans and almost 76% of Japanese consumers have access to the internet. The EU-27 average is 65% but only 17% of our 'on-line' Europeans purchased something on the internet. 66% of 'on-line' Americans do so.
But there are also gaps in our single market in sectors we should have integrated decades ago.
This is why Jacques Delors and I called for the creation of a European Energy Community, as a way to create a genuine European market in energy. Today, we have not one but twenty-seven energy markets.
But in order to succeed in closing the remaining gaps in the Single Market, we need to create a legislative programme similar to the original 1992 Project.
We need concrete regulations and directives. We need to make sure that the EU 2020 Strategy is compatible to our goal of completing the Single Market, and we need to set a target date to actually implement the last phase of our economic integration.
The spirit of solidarity, what I call the 'Spirit of Schuman'; and our common, European policies based on the "community method" need to remain the guiding principles of the Union. Without this - there is no European Union.
I am delighted that Mr. Monti has prepared this report since it gives us a good overview of the work we still have in front of us.