‘On the 1st of January 1993 the single market — based on free movement of people, goods, services and capital — was launched. Today, a stronger single market remains more than ever our greatest asset. It creates rights and opens up opportunities for 500 million people and 22 million businesses across Europe. I trust that Your Europe will help all Europeans to fully benefit from the achievements of the single market!’
Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services
Over the past 20 years, the single market has changed the way Europeans work, learn, buy and sell around the continent. Twenty years ago a short trip to a neighbouring country was no easy feat; it would most likely start with a stop at a currency exchange desk and require paperwork for a potential visit to the doctor or hospital and paying duties on even the smallest of souvenirs. And in 1992, if you found a problem with that souvenir when you got home, you could forget about getting a refund. Nor could you have been entirely sure it was safe, as standards around Europe varied.
And if you had a business in 1992, the bureaucracy involved in trading or providing services in another EU country would have been a major obstacle in your plans to expand abroad.
Significant progress has been achieved over the last 20 years. As an individual or business, you now enjoy concrete benefits thanks to the single EU market. You have access to more, better-quality and cheaper goods and services. You enjoy the same high level of business and consumer protection in any country. And you can start a company, sell your products and do business in a market of 500 million people across the EU.
Your Europe will help you learn about the many opportunities the single market has to offer and allow you to fully exploit them. In some areas similar rules apply even beyond the EU (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).