After the 2013 and 2014 reports on integration in the single market, we noted the absence in the blog entry Annual Growth Survey 2015 without Single Market integration report. The blog entry Promised report on integration of Single Market reminded us of the promise by the (old) Commission and of the two resolutions of the European Parliament (based on the Andreas Schwab report and Sergio Gaetano Cofferati report) calling for a legal act on a Single Market Pillar of the Annual Growth Survey and the European Semester.
Single Market Pillar study
The European Parliament has not only called for improvements to the report on single market integration, as part of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) and the European Semester, but has actively tried to strengthen the intellectual underpinnings through research. In September 2014 the EP published a study:
Indicators for Measuring the Performance of the Single Market - Building the Single Market Pillar of the European Semester (107 pages)
This study for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) was administrated by the Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy, and written by Jacques Pelkmans and other researchers at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS): Andrea Renda, Cinzia Alcidi, Giacomo Luchetta and Jacopo Timini.
Monitoring and Evaluation tool
After presenting the essential aims of the Andreas Schwab and the Sergio Gaetano Cofferati reports, the study evaluated how far the Commission had progressed with regard to the challenge of identifying which information is best suited as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) tool for the Single Market and designing an M&E tool that is able to trigger policy changes (page 11):
Since the 2013 edition of the Annual Growth Survey, the European Commission has started to address this request. Single Market Reports have been attached to the Annual Growth Survey, focusing on key policy areas. These reports represent a step forward toward better Single Market governance, as they are comprehensive Commission-wide annual reviews of the state-of-the-art of the internal market. However, a comprehensive set of economic and non-economic indicators have not yet been developed to support this analysis. To move one step forward, a systematic set of M&E indicators should be designed by the EU institutions, in order to provide the Single Market governance and policy making process with an as solid as possible evidence base.
Economic and regulatory performance
On page 15 the research team presented an overview of the scope and the contents of the study:
The research team distinguished between economic performance when the assessment concerns the economic outputs, outcomes and impacts; and regulatory performance when the assessment concerns inputs, processes and policy outputs.
This study is concerned with both aspects: namely, how to measure the economic performance of the Single Market, a question that is addressed in Chapter 5, and how to measure the regulatory performance, which is addressed in Chapter 6. Sectoral policies, a topic that mixes both economic and regulatory assessment, are addressed in Chapter 7. As preliminary steps to the analysis of possible M&E indicators, two additional issues are dealt with: the stock-taking exercise of existing M&E tools for Single Market policies and the consequent gap analysis, which is summarised in Chapter 3; and a discussion about the advantages and challenges of composite indicators, which is included in Chapter 4. Chapter 8 concludes the report and summarises the policy recommendations for each of the topics addressed in this study.
EP resolution P8_TA(2015)0067
On its own initiative the European Parliament started a procedure 2014/2221(INI), with Dariusz Rosati as rapporteur for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), leading to the:
European Parliament resolution P8_TA(2015)0067 of 11 March 2015 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2015
The EP resolution continued to press the point of a report on single market integration as a part of the Annual Growth Survey, reminding the other institutions of the analytical tool and indicators it had explored:
3. Highlights the importance and added value of the Single Market Integration reports in the previous years, contributing to the overall priorities set in the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey and the identification of country-specific recommendations in the context of the European Semester; finds it, therefore, most deplorable that the Single Market Integration report has been omitted for 2015;
21. Believes that the Member States and the Commission have not yet delivered on their commitment to complete the single market, especially the single market for services and the digital economy;
22. Reiterates its call on the Commission to improve the governance of the single market; urges the Commission to align the aims of the Single Market with those of the European Semester and to ensure consistency between the monitoring mechanisms of both; believes that a separate analytical tool, composed of indicators measuring the implementation of the single market, can provide useful guidance in relation to country-specific recommendations and the Annual Growth Survey; highlights the importance and added value of the Single Market Integration reports in the previous years, contributing to the overall priorities set in the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey and the identification of country-specific recommendations in the context of the European Semester; finds it, therefore, deplorable that the Single Market Integration report has been omitted for 2015; calls on the Commission to make full use of all existing measures provided for in EU law to enforce the implementation of the European Semester;
EP resolution P8_TA(2015)0069
The same day, with Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz as rapporteur for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), the European Parliament closed another own-initiative procedure, 2014/2212(INI), even more closely dedicated to the theme at hand:
European Parliament resolution P8_TA(2015)0069 of 11 March 2015 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2015
Internal market studies
For those interested in research on the internal market, the European Parliament highlighted three reports published in September of the previous year, the study on indicators we mentioned above and two other papers on the internal market:
- The Cost of Non-Europe in the Single Market, commissioned by the IMCO Committee
- Indicators for Measuring the Performance of the Single Market - Building the Single Market Pillar of the European Semester, commissioned by the IMCO Committee
- Contribution of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection to Growth, commissioned by the IMCO Committee [although the version I linked to is dated December 2014]
The European Parliament mentioned its earlier resolution P7_TA(2013)0054 (Schwab report) of 7 February 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on the governance of the Single Market, and referred to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 8 May 2013, and the EP mentioned its resolution P7_TA(2014)0130 (Cofferati report) of 25 February 2014 on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2014, and to the Commission’s follow-up thereon adopted on 28 May 2014.
However, in both cases the Commission’s follow-up remained unexplained.
Call for Single Market pillar
The European Parliament renewed its call for a Single Market pillar and adequate analytical tools, and the EP explained its views in detail in paragraphs 1-22. I present only a few of them:
1. Reiterates its call on the Commission to improve governance of the Single Market by developing a set of analytical tools to more properly measure the economic and regulatory performance of the Single Market within the framework of the Single Market pillar of the European Semester; believes that such an analytical tool could provide useful input for the CSRs, the Annual Growth Survey (AGS), the European Council’s guidance to Member States, and the national action plans aimed at implementing the Single Market guidelines;
2. Highlights the importance and added value of the Single Market integration reports of previous years, given their contribution to the overall priorities set in the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey and the identification of CSRs in the context of the European semester; finds it therefore most deplorable that the Single Market Integration report has been omitted for 2015;
3. Further finds the omission of the Single Market integration report regrettable since it comes at a time when Parliament and the Commission have been engaging in developing specific indicators to assess internal market integration and all potential benefits of further targeted integration in key growth areas; calls, therefore, for the stepping-up of efforts to ensure better implementation and enforcement of the rules already in place;
4. Calls on the Commission to clarify the restructuring of the Annual Growth Survey 2015, and to explain why it failed to publish a contribution study on the current state of play of Single Market integration with regard to the key areas with greatest growth potential; asks the Commission to publish at least the data gathered on the Single Market in order to complement this year’s AGS;
5. Calls on the Commission to present, as early as possible in 2015, a report on the state of Single Market Integration so that such a report can set the course for the Single Market pillar of the European Semester 2015; stresses, however, that in the future the timing of the report will need to be reconsidered; is of the view that for maximum impact, also with regard to the CSRs, such a report should be published together with the AGS;
Commission SWD(2015) 203
To date, I have not noticed or received any information about a formal Article 225 TFEU reply from the Commission, but what happens if we open SWD(2015) 203, the second working document accompanying the single market strategy, with internal market integration and competitiveness analysis, available through the legal portal Eur-Lex in three parts, or alternatively downloadable from a Commission web page as a whole “printed” publication:.
Single Market integration and competitiveness in the EU and its member states - Report 2015; SWD(2015) 203 final (112 pages)?
A footnote I had forgotten provides a de facto even if not de jure reply about the role of this single market integration and competitiveness report, according to the European Commission, nor does it present reasons (page 6):
This report replaces the Report on European Industrial Performance of Member States – produced in the past in the context of Art. 173 TFEU - and the Single Market Integration Report – previously annexed to the Annual Growth Survey. It also incorporates information produced by the Commission in 2014-2015 in the context of monitoring EU competitiveness (including the EU Structural Change Report 2015) and financial market integration (European Financial Integration Report).
We are left wondering what the Commission’s follow-up was, as well as waiting for its formal reply.
Also, the new report was assigned enough daunting tasks to raise expectations, but how did the European Parliament take the cold shoulder with regard to the Single Market Pillar of the Annual Growth Survey and the European Semester?