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Digital Single Market Event - 11 JUN 2019

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Rule of Law central to making single market and Europe’s economy work

Commissioner Reynders has issued the Commission’s second Rule of Law report.  EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren underlined the importance to Europe’s economy of EU rules and values being observed in all member states:

“All societies rely on the law being applied equally and fairly, and business can only function properly within a predictable and effective legal framework.  In removing this cornerstone on which the single market and Europe’s institutions are built, countries are undermining the very basis of the EU. They also – short-sightedly - hamper the ability of businesses such as retail and wholesale to invest, create jobs and operate to serve consumers.  This is why we strongly support Commissioner Reynders in ensuring that Europe and its citizens can expect all counties to respect the rules-based system which the EU has established, and call upon the Commission to take the action urgently needed to enforce those rules.”

Our sector has felt directly the harmful effects of lack of respect of the rule of law, particularly, but not exclusively, in Central and Eastern Europe.  Retailers and wholesalers in these countries face arbitrary administrative and legislative action, often by decree sidestepping normal parliamentary procedures, with no proper access to national decision-makers and often judicial systems unable to function efficiently and independently to provide proper redress.

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Single Market for Services remains a top priority for retail and wholesale

The digital revolution is forcing fundamental change to the retail and wholesale sector. It depends on free movement of goods and services around Europe and the world, and therefore shares with the whole EU economy the imperative of resisting populist pressure to break up the Single Market.

As a contribution to the ongoing debate on how to develop a competitive Europe, EuroCommerce has launched its paper ‘Making the Single Market a fairer, sustainable and globally competitive space’, setting out the retail and wholesale sector’s ideas for the next Commission on how to strengthen and deepen the Single Market and stimulate economic growth and jobs.

These ideas were echoed in a keynote address by Director-General Christian Verschueren at the High-Level Conference on Retail organised by the European Commission last week.

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Single Market Barriers Overview

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Industrial Strategy: don’t forget services, competition in the EU – and consumers

Commenting today on the Commission package of the Industrial Strategy, strengthening the single market and on SMEs, EuroCommerce Director-General welcomed the concrete steps proposed, but added some thoughts on how to ensure that the Commission ideas were successful in making the whole EU economy globally competitive:

“We strongly support the objectives of Commissioner Breton’s proactive approach in all of the Commission communications released today.  We would counsel implementing them in a way which ensures that the whole EU economy and society benefits.   Services represent over 70% of EU’s GDP, and services and manufacturing are increasingly difficult to distinguish. The EU needs the ‘two sides’ of industry to be competitive, and being competitive internationally means being competitive at home, and not forgetting that it is consumers who ultimately determine the success of any industry. This can also only work by focussing, as the separate Commission communication does, on helping SMEs, who make up 99% of our sector, thrive.”

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