Single market: new business survey reveals need for practical solutions to persistent cross-border barriers
A new Eurochambres survey of over 1000 business owners and entrepreneurs across the EU highlights a range of barriers that continue to undermine free movement within the single market. Presenting the results during a high-level event in Brussels today, Eurochambres President Vladimír Dlouhý urges policymakers to work with the business community to define and implement practical solutions to these obstacles.
Key business barriers identified in the survey – the third that Eurochambres has published, following 2015 and 2019 editions - include disparate contractual and legal practices, varying national service rules, and limited accessibility to information on differing rules/requirements.
Business owners and entrepreneurs advocate practical solutions to reduce or remove these barriers. Clearer information on a multi-language EU online portal containing all necessary procedures and formalities to operate in another EU country, cutting unnecessary red tape, and greater consideration of the impact of new regulations on SMEs are among the most important measures demanded by companies.
Eurochambres President, Vladimír Dlouhý, stressed that any ‘single market fatigue’ among EU policymakers and national authorities is not shared by entrepreneurs: “Business owners are fully aware of the value of frictionless trade within Europe, not just for their own results, but for our economic recovery and competitiveness”. But President Dlouhý highlighted a creeping sense of single market fatalism among chambers’ member companies about recurring obstacles: “Despite what is set out in EU treaties and legislation set out, the reality is that our businesses do not have unrestricted access to the 450 million consumers across the EU. The theory must be put into practice swiftly!”
Chambers of commerce and industry consider that the real game-changer for the single market is not more rules, but the correct application of existing ones to ensure a level playing field. The next European Commission must prioritise the rigorous transposition by member states of EU legislation and the implementation of a European regulatory burden reduction strategy to sharpen Europe's competitiveness edge.