By Martin Banks - 20th November 2012
The single market must not be taken for granted
Senior MEP Malcolm Harbour has called for a "clear political commitment" to complete the single market.
Speaking at a Brussels conference, the Tory declared, "Economic recovery needs job creation. Job creation is firmly rooted in the single market".
Harbour, who chairs parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee, was a keynote speaker at a conference organised by the commission.
The event, "Financial stability and the single market," looked at how regulatory reform is serving the prospects for growth in the single market.
Harbour, an ECR member, said that while he does not suggest "spending our way back to growth," there is a need for a "continued programme of clear political commitments to drive the single market forward".
The MEP said that "key areas" like transport, financial services and energy "must be included" when it comes to closing the internal market.
"This is not just about the rules, it's about implementing the rules and reforming and simplifying the rules that don't work.
"Member state governments and parliaments have to work more closely together. Governments have to be far more involved in implementation strategies.
"Consumers want better market surveillance, safe products and properly enforced rights. These mechanisms must be effective and affordable."
He told the conference on Monday that digital networking and knowledge networks have "huge undeveloped potential for making the single market work better and unleashing economic growth".
He added, "Infrastructure investment is key. We need better e-payments and e-invoicing. Implementation of online rights and redress.
"Another untapped potential is the reform of public procurement, and its ability to drive globally competitive innovations in key sectors like health and transport. Also to promote e-invoicing and encourage SMEs."
Harbour said parliament has a "crucial role" to play as a "driver" of the single market and "anchoring it with benefits to citizens and consumers to sustain public support".
"Parliament is a key player in encouraging the evolution of the single market but the single market must be a partnership project and it must not be taken for granted. It needs nurturing and advocacy."
Meanwhile, Vince Cable, the UK business secretary, has argued that the right course is to reform the EU from within by forging allies.
On Tuesday, he signed a 10-point plan with 12 other EU countries to boost growth by cutting regulations Brussels imposes on business.
Cable said: "We are sending a clear signal to the commission and parliament that we want to inject more practical common sense in the way the EU regulates, supporting rather than hindering enterprise."