If you want to learn more!

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 being regularly updated.

Ilya Bruggeman

Director, Digital, Single Market, and Consumer Policy

Ilya and his team deal with digital, payments, single market and consumer policy. They run the IMCO and Payments committees. He worked previously for the Dutch Retail Association and as a public affairs consultant. Ilya is a Dutch national and studied Public Administration at Leiden University in the Netherlands.