Finland performs comparably well in implementing EU Single Market rules
The European Commission has published the Single Market scoreboard that measures the implementation of the Single Market rules in the Union during 2020. The Single Market refers to the free movement of people, goods, services and capital in the EU. The Commission has extended the scope of the scoreboard to include three new policy areas: business environment for SMEs, greening of the industry, and market surveillance.
The Single Market Scoreboard provides an overview of how the EU’s single market rules were implemented and applied in each country. The Scoreboard compares the implementation of the EU Single Market in eight policy areas as well as the application of ten governance tools. The implementation of the Single Market improved slightly in certain monitoring areas throughout the EU in 2020. The state of the Single Market has remained stable overall. As in previous years, Finland scored better than the EU average.
Despite the general good development, all EU Member States have certain areas where they need to improve the implementation of the Single Market. The coronavirus pandemic has also affected the operation of the Single Market. While the digital transition is progressing, at the same time certain Member States have restricted the free movement of goods within the EU.
Country-specific comparisons show in concrete ways what matters in national legislation the Member States should focus on to develop the Single Market. A more efficient implementation of the Single Market rules would allow companies and citizens to benefit from the single market freedoms and rights better than now.
Three new policy areas in Scoreboard
This year, the Single Market Scoreboard includes three new policy areas: business environment of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), greening of the industry, and market surveillance. The coronavirus pandemic has hampered the operations of many SMEs and their number fell by 1.3% in the EU in 2020. While the year 2021 has been slightly better than the previous one, EU countries must continue to invest in creating a favourable business environment for SMEs.
Another new policy area on the Scoreboard examines the progress of green transition in Europe’s industry. A large part of the European industry is still based on the consumption of natural resources. The green transition will renew the EU’s industry and economy as a whole in the near future.
Market surveillance – an essential part of a well-functioning internal market – is the third new policy area added to the Scoreboard. Market surveillance ensures that products comply with regulations and do not endanger consumers in the EU internal market.
Key highlights of the Single Market Scoreboard for 2020
A well-functioning single market requires more effort and action from the Member States.
In 2020, it took EU Member States longer than before to transpose single market directives into national legislation. More and more directives had not been implemented by the deadline. The number of single market-related infringements has also risen. Member States must make more effort to implement the directives and to prevent and tackle infringements.
Member States must ensure the necessary administrative resources for the implementation of the Single Market. For example, too few human resources in the SOLVIT service delay the processing of cases. SOLVIT is an informal problem-solving tool that helps citizens and companies in problems concerning incorrect or incomplete application of EU regulations.
Better access to information and advice on the single market
EU citizens have better access to information on the single market through different information and advisory services. Last year, over 2,600 cases were submitted to SOLVIT, of which 80% were solved.
Another example of help and advice services for EU citizens is the Your Europe portal, which contains information and advice on the Single Market rights of citizens and companies. The portal attracted nearly 33 million views in 2020.
Public procurement should pay more attention to Single Market
Public procurement plays an important role in the economies of the Member States. Implementation of the Single Market rules in public procurement needs to be improved, as many calls for tender attract only few bids and the lowest price remains the sole award criterion in a many calls. The absence of open and effective competition is an obstacle to the completion of the Single Market.
Niina Etelävuori, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 022