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Eurochambres Survey Reveals Persistent Barriers in EU’s Single Market: A Call for Action

In a striking revelation from Brussels today, a comprehensive Eurochambres survey of over a thousand business moguls and innovative entrepreneurs across the EU has laid bare an array of stubborn hurdles that continue to impede the free movement within the vaunted single market. 

The survey, which marks the third of its kind following its predecessors in 2015 and 2019, was unveiled during a high-level event, with Eurochambres President Vladimír Dlouhý at the forefront, issuing a clarion call to policymakers to join forces with the business sector in crafting and deploying pragmatic solutions to these enduring challenges.

The survey’s findings are telling. They pinpoint a motley of business impediments, chief among them being a patchwork of contractual and legal practices, a labyrinth of divergent national service rules, and the vexing issue of limited access to critical information on varying rules and requirements from one EU country to another. This melange of barriers paints a picture of a single market still shackled by its inconsistencies and complexities.

In response, the business community, with a practical bent, is championing solutions aimed at diminishing or outright dismantling these barriers. Their proposals include the creation of a multilingual EU online portal, a one-stop shop of sorts, detailing all necessary procedures and formalities for operating across EU borders. Additionally, they call for the slashing of needless bureaucratic red tape and a more thoughtful consideration of the impact of new regulations, especially on SMEs.

Eurochambres President Vladimír Dlouhý highlights the disconnect between EU policy and business reality, urging the implementation of practical solutions to dismantle persistent barriers in the single market

Dlouhý, in his impassioned address, underscored a disconnect. He noted that while there might be a waning enthusiasm for the single market among EU policymakers and national authorities – a ‘single market fatigue’, so to speak – this sentiment is not echoed in the entrepreneurial circles. Business owners, he pointed out, remain acutely aware of the benefits of seamless trade within Europe, not just for their own bottom lines but for the broader economic recovery and competitiveness.

Yet, Dlouhý also shed light on a growing sense of resignation, a ‘single market fatalism’, that’s creeping into the psyche of member companies. This stems from the recurrent roadblocks they face, despite the lofty promises enshrined in EU treaties and legislation. The harsh reality, as Dlouhý poignantly highlighted, is that businesses are yet to enjoy unfettered access to the EU’s massive consumer base of 450 million.

In their collective wisdom, chambers of commerce and industry believe that the panacea for the single market doesn’t lie in concocting more rules. Instead, it hinges on the diligent application of existing regulations to ensure a level playing field. They assert that the next European Commission must prioritize the stringent transposition of EU legislation by member states and spearhead a European regulatory burden reduction strategy, a move that could significantly sharpen Europe’s competitive edge.

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