The European Commission has recently implemented further steps within the Digital Single Market to deepen cooperation across borders and strengthen the EU’s global economy – through the new Single Market Compliance package. The proposed rules aim to make it easier for citizens and businesses to manage their paperwork online in their home country or when working, living or doing business in another EU country. Additionally, the proposed rules will help ensure that commonly agreed EU rules are respected.
The proposed package consists of 3 different initiatives:
- A Single Digital Gateway;
- A Single Market Information Tool (SMIT); and
- A SOLVIT Action Plan.
The Single Digital Gateway is a single online entry point, offering administrative procedures and high quality information (on starting up a business, accessing finance, taxation rules, etc.). It will also provide assistance in case further help is needed. According to the “once-only” principle, important documents will only need to be submitted once to the national authorities and then should be made available to be reused in other national procedures at the request of the user. This initiative will not only benefit those people wanting to move or do business in another EU Member State, but also those who wish to stay in their home country. It will also provide an incentive for EU Member States’ governments to offer modern and efficient public service.
The Single Market Information Tool will allow the Commission to source defined and readily available data (on, for instance, public tenders, cost structure and pricing policy) in cases of serious difficulties with the application of EU Single Market legislation. The Commission can already request information directly from companies in the field of competition policy. According to Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, “Single Market Information Tool will further contribute to the Commission’s enforcement work, so that citizens’ Single Market rights are duly respected and EU businesses face fewer barriers when scaling up and entering new markets.”
The SOLVIT Action Plan aims to build on the success of SOLVIT – which is a free of charge online service providing solutions to people and companies all over Europe when facing difficulties with public administrations while moving or doing business across the Union. In doing so, the Action Plan will ensure that more citizens and businesses can easily access SOLVIT and will improve data collection so that evidence from SOLVIT cases can be used to improve the functioning of the Single Market.
Both EUROCHAMBRES and BusinessEurope express doubts over the SMIT.
Arnoldo Abruzzini, CEO of EUROCHAMBRES remarked that, “The Commission is kidding itself if it thinks that a lack of commercial data is the root cause of Single Market malfunctions. It is Member State administrations that regularly fall short in implementing requirements. In this climate, the last thing businesses need is further enforcement burdens and additional demands for information.”
Similarly, Markus J Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope stated that, “We [BusinessEurope] oppose additional obligations to provide sensitive company information without a clear purpose under the threat of sanctions.”According to BusinessEurope, additional/unjustified reporting obligations are a burden and therefore a cost on companies.