It is an engine for building a stronger and fairer EU economy. By allowing people, goods, services and capital to move more freely it opens up new opportunities for citizens, workers, businesses and consumers - creating the jobs and growth Europe so urgently needs.
Today the College of Commissioners held a comprehensive orientation debate on two related aspects of the Single Market. The Internal Market Strategy is a targeted yet ambitious set of actions to boost the cross-border exchange of goods and services. The Labour Mobility Package sets out a balanced approach aimed at promoting labour mobility whilst minimising any unintended consequences. These initiatives are two sides of the same coin: a deeper and fairer internal market. Both initiatives were announced in the Commission Work Programme for 2015. Today's holistic debate also provided a first opportunity for Commissioners to exchange views on the European Pillar of social rights set out by President Juncker during his recent State of the Union address.
Internal Market Strategy and Labour Mobility Package: Two sides of the same coin
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Throughout all of my political life I have fought for our unique European economic and social model. I am convinced that Europe will succeed only when its economy is both strong and fair. I want Europe to build on the strength of our single market, in all its dimensions. Much has been achieved already – but we can and must do more. At the same time, I am taking concerns about potential cases of abuse and risks of social dumping very seriously. As I said in my Political Guidelines, in our Union, the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner."
Internal Market Strategy: Actions to deliver for consumers, professionals and job creators
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “The most important part of the Investment Plan for Europe is removing obstacles to investment by deepening the internal market. Today we discussed how to strengthen Europe’s economy, stimulate investments and restore confidence in Europe. We have defined the priority areas to make the internal market for goods and services function better. We want to boost investment, improve competitiveness and access to finance, ensure the free flow of energy, strengthen our industrial base and reap the opportunities of the digital economy. "
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska kicked off the discussion on the priority areas that the Internal Market Strategy to be unveiled later this autumn should focus on.
The Commissioners stressed the progress made so far on the Investment Plan for Europe, the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market, the Capital Markets Union and the better regulation agenda. They agreed that further action was needed to unlock the full potential of the Internal Market so that citizens, business and public authorities can access goods and services for the best quality, price or service; professionals can offer services across the EU quickly and conveniently; entrepreneurs can innovate and expand; new business models and services can flourish; and retailers find it easy to establish, do business and deliver their products across borders.
Labour Mobility Package
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said:”The EU has to return to the path of more jobs and social convergence. This as a matter of urgency. Labour markets are still suffering from high unemployment levels, but they are also changing fast, not least in the face of globalisation, societal changes and technological innovation. Our response requires a mix of policies aimed at advancing growth and the European social market economy. In promoting labour mobility, we have to take into account the needs and concerns both of the countries jobseekers are leaving, particularly considering the risk of brain drain, and the needs and concerns of the countries where they wish to work."
Following introductory remarks by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, the discussions focused on how to guarantee fair rules for the free movement of workers in the Single Market. The outcome of the debate will feed into the preparations for the Labour Mobility Package to be presented before the end of the year.
Like the Internal Market Strategy, the Labour Mobility Package aims at contributing to a deeper and fairer Internal Market. It will include action to support labour mobility, a targeted review of the Posting of Workers Directive, as well as a proposal for improving the coordination of social security systems in Europe.
A European pillar of social rights
Finally, the College used the opportunity of this debate to have a first exchange of views on a European pillar of social rights as envisaged by President Juncker. The Commissioners discussed ways to strengthen Europe's social dimension through an integrated approach, by modernising existing legislation and considering new measures in support of greater convergence over time. This initiative should come to fruition during the first Semester of 2016.