The commerce sector, more than any other sector, has campaigned for the realisation of a truly Single European Market. Therefore, EuroCommerce strongly supports the adoption by the Parliament’s IMCO committee of the report by Anna Maria Corazza Bildt on the Internal Market for Services. This report should serve as encouragement for the Commission and the Member States to complete and implement a European Single Market for services to boost growth and employment.
Europe is still a long way off a smooth functioning internal market but this report by Anna Maria Corazza Bildt will help pave the way towards a more business-friendly market for services. Actions are necessary to make it easier for service providers, in particular merchants, to sell cross-border, establish and conduct a business in another Member State and enable companies to fully benefit from a true internal market.
Often Member States unduly impose excessive protectionist requirements on businesses, in the form of economic needs tests and discriminatory taxes, to favour their domestic market and discourage businesses from providing services cross-border. Another key issue in the report is the provision of cross-border delivery services. EuroCommerce believes that businesses operating in several Member States should not be obliged to sell or deliver everywhere in the EU due to increased delivery costs, language restrictions and non-uniform guarantee systems and labelling requirements. The report also supports a zero-tolerance policy for Member States as a means of deterring them from infringing the transposition of European legislation. This will, in turn, provide consumers with more choice and lower prices and will open up access to new markets for merchants of all size.
Speaking in response to the vote, EuroCommerce Director-General, Christian Verschueren commented, “Merchants strive to deliver a quality service throughout the Single Market; however, barriers still remain. This report by Ms Corazza Bildt is a strong step in the right direction in helping the Commission and Member States to complete a Single Market for services. As a result, European consumers will be winners, benefitting from more choice, better quality and prices.”
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EuroCommerce and the commerce sector
EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes commerce federations and companies in 31 European countries.
Commerce plays a unique role in the European economy, acting as the link between manufacturers and the nearly 500 million consumers across Europe over a billion times a day. It is a dynamic and labour-intensive sector, generating 11% of the EU’s GDP. One company out of three in Europe is active in the commerce sector. Over 99% of the 6 million companies in commerce are small and medium-sized enterprises. It also includes some of Europe’s most successful companies. The sector is a major source of employment creation: 33 million Europeans work in commerce, which is one of the few remaining job-creating activities in Europe. It also supports millions of dependent jobs throughout the supply chain from small local suppliers to international businesses.