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The Single Market is still far from complete. In many aspects, the European Union is still a mosaic of 27 different national markets. This overview provides some examples of barriers that retailers and wholesalers face in the Single Market. We ask the Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament to address the barriers identified here. The best way for the retail and wholesale sector to provide jobs and growth is to create a businessfriendly environment where there is full competition and consumers can enjoy a wide range of high-quality and safe products.

The main problems that the retail and wholesale sector still faces are:

  • Flawed implementation and application of the Services Directive that hinders the freedom of establishment, the free movement of services and the freedom to provide a service;
  • National trade laws that hinder business in the way they do business. Often these laws hamper competitiveness of the sector, are protectionist and undermine business models that are genuine and legal business models in other Member States. Particularly concerning are developments in Central and Eastern Europe;
  • National requirements that hinder the free movement of goods. Member States do not notify new national technical requirements according to the procedure laid down in Directive (EU) 2015/1535, do not apply the principle of mutual recognition in nonharmonised areas, goldplate directives, etc.

We also recognise some of the initiatives taken by the Commission to solve some of the examples mentioned in this paper. However, infringement procedures take a long time, are expensive and the outcome is uncertain. For businesses, this takes too long and they might decide to leave or not enter a market. In the end this deprives consumers of more choice, higher service and lower prices.

EuroCommerce welcomes an open dialogue with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States to improve the Single Market for Retail. This document is regularly updated

Ignacio Martinez

Adviser, Internal Market and Consumer Policy

Ignacio is our advisor for Single Market and consumer policy, he also deals with trade barriers within the Single Market. Graduate in History and Political Science in the URJC, he holds an MBA in International Trade and has been working on trade barriers in the Spanish public sector. He speaks Spanish, English, Italian, and German.