Friday, October 16, 2009

How to strenthen the EU Internal (Single) Market - EU Competitiveness Council discussion

The EU Competitiveness Council (of Ministers) had a three day informal session (those take place in the member state with the Presidency, ie Sweden).

On Wednesday October 14, the first day, the Ministers discussed how to strengthen EU internal market. The chairperson, Sweden's Trade Minister Ewa Björling presented 6 priorities to her colleagues:

1) Improving coordination on common legislation and ensuring that the legislation is implemented ("transposed" etc) in the same way in each Member State. This also involves raising awareness of the need for a functioning internal market in the EU.

2) The second priority concerns the services sector. Ewa Björling emphasised the importance of the services sector for the EU economy, and said that it is expected to be the fastest growing sector in the EU in the coming years. By the end of this year, the Services Directive must be implemented, but during the meeting today it was decided that more needs to be done in any case.

3) The third priority focuses on EU consumers: developing more active consumer policies and encouraging consumers to look beyond their own country’s borders. Increased trade between the EU countries will, in turn, help to further increase the EU’s competitiveness.

4) Highlighting the ‘fifth freedom’, Innovation, is the fourth priority.

5) The EU’s Community patent.

6) The importance of the relations between the EU and countries outside the European Union

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