30 years of EU single market: the road so far (video) 


Even if the EU single market continues to be a work in progress, it has come a long way in making everyday life easier for companies and people.

The single market, launched in 1993, established the free movement of goods, services, capital and people across the EU. The European Parliament discussed in January 2023 how it has transformed Europe and how to make full use of its potential.

MEPs adopted a resolution saying the accomplishments of the single market cannot be taken for granted given the challenges facing the EU, from long-term geopolitical conflict to climate change.

MEPs called for renewed a commitment from member states and EU institutions, as well as a specific action plan to further strengthen the single market, especially in areas such as services, energy, telecommunications and digital.

The single market over the years

The single market is one of the cornerstones of EU integration bringing together more than 450 million Europeans.

Its foundations were laid with the Single European Act, signed in 1986, with the goal of removing most of the obstacles that made it difficult to export to another EU country.  By the end of 1992, the majority of the barriers to trade had been dismantled and 1993 marked the start of the single market.

In the years that followed, companies from across the EU found it easier to offer products and services to customers in other EU countries, while Europeans took advantage of opportunities to live, work and study across borders.

Check out our video to discover important moments in the development of the single market.

New challenges

Thirty years after its launch, the European Parliament continues to work on improving the single market. New rules seek to regulate digital platforms, introduce a common charger for most mobile devices and reinforce product safety.

MEPs are pushing for the establishment of the right to repair products, to counter the increase of waste and want the single market to become more resilient to crises.

Find out more about the benefits and challenges of the single market