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A comprehensive, future-oriented single market 

The most important way to promote growth and wellbeing is to increase the effectiveness of the single market. The single market boosts the competitiveness of European businesses, creates jobs and enhances people’s wellbeing. The Finnish Presidency wishes the EU to focus on developing the single market over the next few years.  

The single market needs to be developed in a comprehensive way, paying attention to each individual sector. Digitalisation, industrial policy and trade policy are key themes associated with the single market. A comprehensive approach is the best way to ensure we get the most out of the single market.

We also need to ensure consistency in further developing the European Pillar of Social Rights. This will allow the single market to deliver results that are visible to everyone. We must ensure that the single market benefits all Europeans fairly.

Finland’s Presidency aims to

  • strengthen Europe’s global leadership in the digital economy and in the technologies of various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, mobility and the creative industries 
  • take the data and platform economy forward
  • build up the single market for services, particularly digital services 
  • promote an active industrial policy for the EU 
  • support new business opportunities and emissions reductions in the transport sector. 
  • ensure compliance with modern employment and social standards in the EU  
  • assess the need to update employment legislation and social protection systems in order to address new forms of employment.

General background: The single market is one of the world’s largest economies 

The economic benefits of the single market amount to 8.5% of the EU’s GDP. 

People, goods, services and capital move freely across the EU single market. Citizens are free to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the single market. For businesses, the single market acts as an extensive domestic market. 

Three milestones in the history of the single market: 

  1. The single market was launched in January 1993. This was preceded by years of legislative work: close to 300 statutes were adopted. The decision to create a single market goes back to 1986.
  2. In April 2011 and October 2012, the European Commission presented two extensive packages of measures to boost the single market. Some of the priority actions proposed in these packages concerned a digital single market, mobility of citizens, and financing for small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  3. In March 2019, the European Council called for further extensive development of the single market. It invited the Commission to draw up a long-term vision for improving industrial competitiveness in the EU and an action plan to better implement and enforce single market rules.

Read more about important topics during Finland’s Presidency 

EU2019FI backgrounder: Single market

EU2019FI backgrounder: Data economy

EU2019FI backgrounder: Transport automation

EU2019FI backgrounder: Digitalisation in transport services

EU2019FI backgrounder: Carbon-free transport

EU2019FI backgrounder: Skills and transformation of work

EU2019FI backgrounder: Representative actions: better rights for consumers

Read more about the single market 

Council of the EU: Industrial policy

Council of the EU: Single market

Council of the EU: Digital single market