Van Rompuy to member states: Implement Single Market Act II now

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European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has appealed to EU heads of states to show political will and implement the Single Market Act II, according to a leaked letter seen by EURACTIV.

Van Rompuy's letter emphasises that the Single Market Act II, launched by Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier last week, allows the EU to have a coherent approach on priority measures in all areas that contribute significantly to economic growth.

"But a key element is implementation," Van Rompuy states in the letter. "Our commitments will not make the Union return to growth unless they are followed by decisive action."

On 3 October, Barnier presented a new recipe to improve the functioning of the internal market with a focus on job-creation and growth in its Single Market Act II plan.

In its new proposal, the Commission has put forward 12 levers for rapid adoption to further develop the internal market.

These actions are concentrated on four main drivers for growth, employment and confidence: integrated networks, cross-border mobility of citizens and businesses, the digital economy, and actions that reinforce cohesion and consumer benefits.

On 4 October, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the first proposal, on standardisation in services. Barnier said he now expects other proposals to be implemented by member states before the end of 2012 – the unitary patent, the risk capital passport, the investment fund for social entrepreneurship, the alternative dispute resolution scheme and the directive on accounting standards.

Van Rompuy would also like to see speedier implementation of the agreed €120-billion package to boost the financing of the economy, in particular as regards the capital increase of the European Investment Bank and the mobilisation of structural funds to support growth, employment, competitiveness and convergence.

However, in the letter to EU member states, Van Rompuy acknowledges that some measures of the Single Market Act II are more "problematic" than others and in some cases delays appear likely.

"In the absence of further efforts from all sides, there is a risk that only half of the levers of the SMA will be agreed by December," Van Rompuy writes.

Nevertheless, if the EU can muster sufficient political will, an agreement could be reached on most of the files towards the end of the year or early next year. 

A delay is on the other hand certain regarding the e-signature initiative, due to upstream delays in the presentation of the proposal, Van Rompuy states.


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Single Market. 

The European Single Market ensures that EU citizens can live, work, retire, study and shop in any country. EU businesses are free to sell their goods and services to 500 million consumers anywhere in the EU meaning more choice and lower prices for consumers and more opportunities for businesses.

The Single Market is also a contributor to economic growth and employment in the EU. From 1992 to 2008 it generated an extra 2.77 million jobs and an additional 2.13% in GDP, according to figures by the European Commission.

The Single market is however never complete and must respond to a constantly changing world where social, demographic and technological developments must be incorporated in policy thinking.


  • 10 Oct. 2012: Online Google debate on the Single Market.
  • 15-20 Oct. 2012: Single Market Week.
  • Spring 2013: The Commission will put forward all key legislative proposals of the Single Market Act II.
  • End 2013: Commission will put forward the non-legislative proposals.
  • Spring 2014: The European Parliament and Council are called upon to adopt legislative proposals as a matter of priority.

Further Reading

European Commission


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