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The Single Market: Europe's Engine for Growth and Sustainability

Latest News 19 Apr 2024
By Paolo Falcioni, Director General, APPLiA

The Single Market is not just a policy – it's the lifeblood of Europe's most vital industries, including our own home appliance sector. A market of 500 million consumers, it represents not only significant turnover but also employs millions across the continent.

Yet, in an increasingly tense geopolitical climate and a hyper-connected global economy, Europe faces new challenges to its economic strength. Here, the Single Market emerges as the cornerstone of our response, an engine for growth and a path to reviving European industry.

Over the past decade, however, this engine has sputtered. Fragmentation, in the form of regulatory hurdles and constraints on cross-border trade, has prevented the Single Market from reaching its full potential. This is why APPLiA eagerly awaited the recent High-Level Report on the Future of the Single Market, by Enrico Letta.

The report rightly emphasises the need for a circular economy, promoting sustainable products and product-specific circularity criteria. It identifies a level playing field and reliable information as crucial steps towards achieving this goal. Here, APPLiA strongly agrees to Mr.Letta's call for the EU to prioritise Regulations over Directives when formulating Single Market rules. Regulations ensure consistent application across Member States, fostering a truly unified market for sustainable products.

The rise of national initiatives threatens the free movement of goods within Europe. This not only compromises Europe's competitiveness but also weakens its influence on the global stage and ultimately has a negative impact on European citizens. Fragmented markets lead to higher costs and stifled innovation, impacting the quality and affordability of products for consumers.

Consequently, APPLiA wholeheartedly applauds the proposal in the report for the next European Commission to appoint an Executive Vice-President specifically responsible for the Single Market. This dedicated leadership, acting as the Chief Enforcement Officer, will be instrumental in promoting harmonisation, safeguarding the free movement of goods and ensuring a level playing field for all European businesses.

The Single Market is not just a legacy of European integration; it is the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable future. By prioritising its smooth functioning and enforcement, Europe can reignite its industrial strength, empower its citizens, and become a global leader in the circular economy. Let's work together to ensure the Single Market thrives, propelling Europe forward.

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