On 22 November 2018, the European Commission adopted the following communications:
- The Single Market in a changing world – a unique asset in need of renewed political commitment. The communication highlights three areas of focus upon which action is required to deepen and strengthen the Single Market: (i) swiftly adopt proposals on the table. The Commission has presented 67 proposals directly relevant for the proper functioning of the Single Market, 44 of which remain to be agreed. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the key proposals on the table before the end of this legislature; (ii) ensure the rules deliver in practice. The Commission calls on Member States to be vigilant in implementing, applying and enforcing EU rules and refrain from erecting new barriers; and (iii) continue adapting the Single Market. The communication notes that there is significant potential for further economic integration in the areas of services, products, taxation and network industries;
- Harmonising standards: enhancing transparency and legal certainty for a full functioning Single Market. The communication provides an overview of the functioning of the European standardisation system, taking stock of the initiatives launched in recent years and presents four key actions that the Commission will immediately undertake to enhance the efficiency, transparency and legal certainty for the actors involved in the development of harmonised standards: (i) eliminate, as rapidly as possible, the remaining backlog of harmonised standards that are not yet published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ); (ii) streamline internal decision making processes, in particular the decision of publishing the references to harmonised standards in the OJ; (iii) elaborate a guidance document on practical aspects of implementing standardisation regulation; and (iv) reinforce, on an on-going basis, the system of consultants to support swift and robust assessments of harmonised standards and timely publication in the OJ; and
- Investment Plan for Europe: stock taking and next steps. To improve the investment environment in Europe the communication highlights the need for the following: (i) removing regulatory bottlenecks. In particular, the Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly proceed with the adoption of the reforms identified in four EU-wide strategies (the Single Market Strategy, the Digital Single Market, the Capital Markets Union and Energy Union); and (ii) pursue business-friendly structural reforms. Under the European Semester, the Commission introduced an approach based on a ‘virtuous triangle’ of structural reforms, investment and fiscal responsibility. This approach has delivered, with progress witnessed in all Member States, especially with regard to administration and business conditions. But a stronger push for the implementation of structural reforms is required in some countries, for example in the area of effective justice systems.