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Single market: improving its functioning

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Single market: improving its functioning

In the light of the shortcomings of the single market, the European Commission carried out the Single Market Review and suggests new measures to ensure that the Community rules are better applied.


Commission Recommendation 2009/524/EC of 29 June 2009 on measures to improve the functioning of the single market (Text with EEA relevance).


This Recommendation aims to improve the functioning of the single market. It presents a set of measures intended to guarantee the application of the Community rules and to promote best practices which already exist in certain Member States.

Improving coordination and cooperation

This Recommendation invites Member States to designate a new authority or to use the existing structures in their national administration to ensure that a body assumes responsibility for coordination with regard to the single market. Government ministries and public bodies must also cooperate with each other.

The European Commission also considers it pertinent to bring together responsibilities for a number of single market related activities within a single authority.

Cooperation between national authorities is strongly encouraged, on the one hand in order to make the existing networks such as the IMI, RAPEX or RASFF more operational and, on the other hand, to ensure that the responses to Commission requests concerning the application of single market rules at national level are more effective. From this perspective, this Recommendation encourages Member States to follow the example of cooperation between Nordic and Baltic countries in the context of market surveillance.

Improving the transposition of single market rules

Member States are invited to prepare actively for the transposition, application and enforcement of single market directives at national level.

It is crucial that relevant information is communicated between national administrations and national, regional and devolved parliaments in order to raise awareness of negotiations and the process for the transposition of Community rules. To this end, some Member States draw up national impact assessments when a directive is tabled by the Commission.

Improving market monitoring and the application of rules

The Commission recommends that Member States take measures aimed at monitoring the market, by using analysis carried out by academics, consultants, National Statistical offices or complaint handling bodies.

Local stakeholders are also strongly encouraged to participate in the market monitoring process.

In addition, officials responsible for applying single market rules should be able to receive continued training on Community law in general and single market rules in particular.

Promoting problem-solving mechanisms

This Recommendation encourages Member States to develop non-judicial problem-solving mechanisms and to participate in existing Community systems such as SOLVIT.

As far as the national judiciary is concerned, Member States must provide to judges basic training in Community law and single market rules to enable them to take better account of the requirements of Community law in their judgments.

Assessing national legislation

It is important that Member States should ensure the monitoring and assessment of national legislation implementing single market rules in order to rectify any deficiency or error in the application of Community rules without delay.

The Commission proposes that Member States should develop ex-post impact assessment reports or audits to monitor the implementation of single market directives.

Informing citizens and businesses about their rights

Citizens and businesses can obtain information about their rights from the Community information services within national administrations. It is therefore vital to ensure increased coordination between the national contact points responsible for these Community information services.

The Your Europe portal should be more visible and provide clearer information online.

Information campaigns and programmes should be launched to report the benefits and opportunities offered by the single market.


The Communication “A single market for 21st century Europe” emphasised a number of shortcomings of the single market due to poor application of and non-compliance with Community rules. The Commission has therefore reviewed the single market with the aim of proposing specific measures for citizens and businesses to ensure that they benefit from the economic advantages created by this market.

Last updated: 22.01.2010