Brussels, 10 March 2020

On the 10th of March 2020, the European Commission published its Single Market Barriers Report. This report examines the main still existing barriers to a well-functioning single market and identifies their root causes. As the report points out, such an exercise is indeed of importance, as removing the barriers to a fully functioning single market could amount to benefits of EUR 713 billion by the end of 2029.

One of the barriers reported by business relates to a lack of access to information on rules and requirements. Also a lack of transparency regarding public procurement practices was highlighted. According to the report, 38% of surveyed businesses reported the problem of “arbitrary public procurement practices”. Furthermore, a lack of tax harmonization is often perceived as a problem, by business operating cross-border or in different countries. For example, due to divergences in the different tax systems.

When it comes to the root causes of the various barriers to a complete Single Market, these among others relate to Member States’ diverging regulatory approaches, the complex interaction between national and EU law, sometimes an incomplete or incorrect transposition of EU directives by Member States, and inadequate implementation of EU law.