It’s easy and also the same time it’s very important to look at the Map of Europe. It allows you to imagine the priories for the European Integration Process: free movements of goods, capital, services and people, but also transport and energy networks, a common environmental law, a common European Agriculture policy and food safety rules. All this represents the connective tissue of a European integrated economy and society, completed by a competition policy and state aid legislation which is a check and balance system for a right development of the Single Market.
What did Europe do?
A first-time foreign tourist to Europe would soon realize that something called the European Europe (EU) exists but might not understand exactly what it is. Signs at the airport in a EU Member State (by far the majority of European States and with the exemption of some states, like France, which has implemented some specific anti-terrorisms rules) would direct the visitors into the “NON-EU” line for inspections by national immigration officers (there are no EU immigration officers). Once finished with border formalities, the visitors would need to change money.
In twelve of the EU’s currently twenty-height Member States the visitors would receive euro notes and coins but in other Member States would receive national currency. Travelling around the Country, the visitors would see the distinctive EU flag prominently displayed. In the EU’s poorer regions, the visitors would notice signs adorned with the EU flag proudly proclaiming that various infrastructural projects were being found in part by EU Commission. Staying within the territory of EU, the visitor would be able to travel unimpeded across some, but not all, national borders.
A curious and discerning visitor would discover that national political systems are alive and well in the EU, but there is a complementary political system centered on Brussels, meaning in this case not the politics of Belgium, but the locus of EU policy making. National Governments, Parliaments, Courts and other bodies participate in the EU system, as do separate EU institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament, located in Brussels and Strasbourg, the Court of Justice located in Luxembourg and the Social and Economic Committee, as far as the Regions Committee (these last bodies are only advisory bodies). Further enquiry would reveal that a complex system of EU governance produces rules and regulations harmonizing the national legislations of the Member States, sometimes substituting them, sometimes only “point the way” to the national legislators.
All these Institutions, with the Council representing the Member States “as a whole”, created for the Europeans a unique space for live and work together.
The “European Big Market”: a way to live equally
For citizens and enterprises, the Single Market refers to the EU as one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. A functioning Single Market stimulates competition and trade, improves efficiency, raises quality and helps cut prices. The European Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. It has fueled economic growth and made the everyday life of European Businesses and consumers easier.
The Single Market Strategy is the European Commission plan to unlock the full potential of the Single Market. The Single Market is the Heart of the European Project, but its benefits do not always materialize because Single Market rules are not known or full implemented, or they are undermined by other barriers. So that the Commission has decided to give the Single Market a boost by improving mobility for services provided, ensuring that innovative business models can flourish, making it easier for retailers to do business across borders and enhancing access to goods and services throughout in the EU.
The EU Single Market accounts for 500 million consumers and 21 million small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The Commission’s main goal is to ensure the free-movement of goods within the market, and to set high safety standards for consumers and the protection of the environment.
Services are crucial to the Single Market. They account for over 70% of all economy activity in the EU and a similar proportion of its employment. EU companies have the freedom to establish themselves in other EU countries and the freedom to provide services in countries other than the one in which they are established.
A fully functional Digital Single Market would bring many benefits to European businesses and consumers. It would promote innovation and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The Commission has adopted an ambitious strategy to complete the Digital Single Market that targets ICT standards and interoperability and e-commerce.
Standards are voluntary technical specification that apply to various products, materials, services and processes. They can help reduce costs, improve safety, enhance competition and facilitate the acceptance of innovation.
The Commission works to remove barriers to intra-EU trade and prevent to the creation of new ones so enterprises can trade freely in the EU and beyond. It applies Treaty rules prohibiting quantitative restrictions on imports and exports.
The Commission introduced the CE mark to indicate that a product meets high safety, health and environment protection requirements and can be sold throughout the European Economic Area.
Public Procurement is the acquisition of goods and services by public authorities such as national, regional or municipal governments. The EU works to ensure that public procurement is fair, competitive and conducive to the Single Market.
All these issues constitute the New Commission Strategy on Single Market.
It will be difficult for UK withdraw from this legal framework. Negotiations will be very intensive for all the parties, but it is clear that the cost of replicating some or all of these features in the UK will be costly both in economic and human terms.
Across the EUniverse does not wish to see the UK leave but at the same time wishes to see that the EU grows and grows in a way that will make it attractive to others as a cultural, social and economic center that will be the envy of all.