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Internal Market


The internal market is an important long-term priority of the European Union. It is the source of most of the added value for national income. It aims to create an area in which the free movement of people and goods is guaranteed. To this end, the Competitiveness Council covers many areas: public procurement, freedom of services and establishment, free movement of goods, intellectual and industrial property rights, competition and company law.

 

Better regulation

EU laws are to become simpler, more effective and easier to understand. Decentralisation and a clearer division of responsibilities will also be a central issue.

Many steps have already been taken to achieve these goals, including:

  • conclusion of an inter-institutional agreement between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council (better coordination in the legislative process, greater transparency, choice of legal instruments, use of self-regulation and co-regulation, comitology, improvement in the quality of legislation, better transposition, simplification and trimming of legislation);
  • preparation of a Commission action plan (June 2002, communications on better regulation, simplifying and improving the regulatory environment, impact assessment, and consultation);
  • Commission communication: “Better regulation for jobs and growth in the European Union” (March 2005);
  • Commission guidelines for impact assessment of Community regulation (June 2005);
  • joint initiative of the EU Presidencies (Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Austria, Finland) for regulatory reform in Europe (January 2005)
  • project on simplifying regulation in the EU by the Dutch and Irish Presidencies (November 2004) and by Commissioner Verheugen (April 2005).

Proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive on services in the internal market

In February 2004, the Commission tabled a draft directive on services in the internal market (doc. 6174/04) whose essential components are implementation of the country of origin principle and setting up of a one-stop shop for processing/consultations. The purpose of the draft is to create the internal market for services which form an important part of the Lisbon agenda.

On the whole, the Member States agree that the basic conditions for the services industry need improving, particularly through the simplification of administration and co-operation between authorities.

Proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision on the establishment of a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)

The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) is a component of the new Lisbon Strategy. The Programme aims to create a framework for Community activities, whose purpose is to improve the competitiveness of enterprises, in particular SMEs, productivity, innovation and sustainable and environmentally sound growth. It is complementary to other EU programmes, such as the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and the structural programmes.

Outlook

The CIP is currently being debated in the European Council and Parliament. The British Presidency hopes to bring about a political agreement. Whether the CIP can be concluded under the Austrian Presidency depends on the decision on the EU financial perspective for 2007-2013.

 

Date: 22.12.2005