Based on four great freedoms – free movement of people, goods, services and capital – the single market is one of the most important achievements of European integration.
Twenty years after the market’s creation, and despite major progress, the single market’s potential for creating growth and jobs has still not been fully exploited, in a context of relative public mistrust. Aware of this, the Commission under José Manuel Barroso has made completion of the single market one of its priorities. The Monti Report of May 2010 presents a strategy for relaunching the single market which has been translated, via the Single Market Act, into priority actions for the coming years.
Against a background of crisis and weak growth, measures in this area are taking on increased importance. Given the limited margins available for reflation measures at national level, improvements to the efficiency of the single market represent Europe’s best endogenous source of growth and job creation.
This 20th anniversary of the single market is an opportunity to celebrate the distance travelled while keeping attention focused on what still needs to be achieved if the market is to be adapted to 21st century realities. The Jacques Delors Institute’s work on the single market has three dimensions:
- an assessment of the single market’s first 20 years, with a particular focus on the social aspect (creation and destruction of jobs, gains in purchasing power, effects on wages and workplace rights, etc.)
- a thematic dimension centred in particular on fiscal coordination within the single market
- a sectoral dimension focused particularly on the internal energy market, as a continuation of the proposal for a “European Energy Community” made by Jacques Delors