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Amendments to the Single Market Programme necessary

The proposal of the European Commission for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027 also includes a Single Market Programme. Based on this Programme, the Commission wants to achieve simplifications and synergy effects in a wide range of sectors of the single market. The Chamber of Labour has analysed the targets and financial allocation of the proposal in great detail and shows in its Position Paper both problem fields and solution proposals.

During its review of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the Union for period 2021 to 2027, the Chamber of Labour reached the conclusion that the wide gap between rich and poor within the Member States has been only insufficiently addressed. The Proposal of the Single Market Programme also does not live up to its promise. It is hardly possible to achieve synergy effects for topics as wide ranging as competitiveness of companies, consumer protection, food chains, financial services, European standards and development. That is why the AK reviewed the Commission's proposal in great detail concerning the impact and the consequences for employees.

Targets of the Single Market Programme

According to the European Commission, it would be one of the targets to avoid the creation of obstacles, which might hamper the single market and to remove existing hurdles. With regard to goods and services, public procurement, market surveillance, company law, contractual and non-contractual law, combatting money laundering and free movement of capital and financial services, it should succeed by strengthening the implementation and enforcement of Union law. However, the Chamber of Labour points out that serious deficits concerning the implementation and enforcement of Union law arise in particular in respect of free movement of people and the social and environment sector - which does distort competition in the single market. That is why the Chamber of Labour demands to include labour, social and environmental law in the work to remove the obstacles hampering the single market.

Another goal is to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies. However, promoting projects relating to market access, internationalisation and industrial modernisation are only supply measures. Hence, in order to successfully implement this goal, the Chamber of Labour sees the need to also consider demand-oriented features.

Financial allocation

About 4.1 billion have been set aside for the measures of the Single Market Programme. The level of priority given to a measure can often be recognised by the size of funding made available. Hence, 1 billion Euro has been allocated to the COSME Programme to promote the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and 2 billion for the InvestEU Programme. This means an increase of funds of 30% compared to the current. In contrast, funds for consumer protection have been slightly reduced from 188.8 to 188 million Euro. However, these are faced with additional responsibilities, for example because of the digitalisation of the economy or the globalisation of consumer markets. In addition, the enforcement of EU rules in consumer rights is associated with an increasing number of consultations. Hence, instead of a reduction, the Chamber of Labour demands an increase of this budgetary item to 250 million Euro.

The Commission hopes to adopt the Multiannual Financial Framework including the Single Market Programme before the European Elections in May 2019. Currently, the competent Committees of the European Parliament under the auspices of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) are discussing this issue. However, regarding subjects related to the Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Parliament’s options to intervene are limited; however, the intention is to complete the work involved before the end of the year. But the positions of the Member States are still far apart. The AK will continue to intensively monitor the negotiations and to work to ensure that sufficient funds for employee and social projects will be made available.

Further Information:

AK Position Paper: EU Single Market Programme

AK Position Paper: EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027: A budget that unites Europe

AK EUROPE: EU needs a Multiannual Financial Framework that unites Europe

Commission: Proposal establishing the Programme for the single market

Commission: Multiannual Financial Framework

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