Any business in the EU can benefit from the huge European market: 27 countries with over 480 million consumers.
The principle of free movement of goods, allowing goods to be transported and sold anywhere in the EU, is a cornerstone of the EU market. To a certain extent, complex and varied national laws have been replaced by a single set of European rules, cutting down on costs and inconvenience for businesses wanting to trade in other EU countries.
The EU market for goods is already highly integrated but there are still a lot of legal and administrative barriers affecting trade in services. In order to release the untapped potential of services markets in the EU, the Services Directive was adopted in December 2006. It will have to be fully implemented by all EU countries by end 2009.
However companies can already bid for public contracts in other EU countries.
To make the EU market work efficiently, businesses have to respect a number of rules and compete fairly. Anticompetitive behaviours, such as the abuse of a dominant market position, price-fixing agreements and unwarranted public support, are prohibited.