Competing on a global scale, the growth of innovative companies, the best products and services for consumers. The Dutch EU presidency sees these as priorities that will help to strengthen the digital internal market. On Monday 13 June, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, addressed the EU Internal Market conference.
The Single Market is a great achievement. By allowing people, services, goods and capital to move freely in the world's largest economy – our half-billion consumers are served by 30 million businesses generating €14 trillion – we all benefit from more choice and lower prices. For our companies it means new business opportunities; for our citizens, the chance to live, work and study wherever they want.
But complacency would be fatal: what we take for granted, we risk losing. Our economic recovery may be on track – in the first quarter of 2016 the EU grew faster than the US – but it’s not good enough. One in five young Europeans are still without work. It’s time to move up a gear. In its report on the cost of non-Europe, the European Parliament estimates that a fully completed Single Market could add more than €1 trillion to our economy. That’s millions of jobs and a prize worth fighting for.
New business ideas need a big enough market and simple rules that give clarity and support. Young companies need access to finance so that first success leads to new growth. This is why the European Union’s €315 billion Investment Plan is giving 150,000 small businesses better access to finance. On the back of a good start – the Plan has mobilised more than €100 billion in extra investment in its first year – the European Commission has proposed to extend the plan beyond 2018.
We ask them to do two things as a matter of urgency: make a clear commitment to agree all new Single Market legislation before the end of 2018, and take stock of progress made on the completion of the EU's Single Market every year at the June European Council. That's a lot to do over the next two years, but the citizens and businesses of Europe cannot wait.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, President of the Council of the European Union