PositionSingle market concept for business

A large majority of heads of businesses in the fifteen older' EU member states would like to see further harmonisation of regulation procedures and call forafurther liberalisation of public services and a strengthening of intellectual property rights protection. While the increase in competition is certainly a result of the Single Market, ensuring a level playing field is accorded the highest level of importance forafuture Single Market policy-making on the grounds that the Single Market is an acquis that needs to be continuously developed. This is one of the most striking conclusions to be drawn from the findings of a Eurobarometer enquiry into the opinions and experiences of businesses in the EU15, published by the European Commission on 15 January(1).

Thirteen years after the launch of the Single Market, the experiences of these companies are generally positive. The elimination of the administrative tasks associated with customs control is particularly appreciated. In general terms, industry and large firms have benefited most from the Single Market measures.

Some 46% of company executives affirm that there has been an increase in competition stemming from other EU firms as a result of the Single Market. Two out of fiveaexecutives recognise that the Single Market has had an important influence onatheir firms' pricing strategy.

The results suggest that more than a decade afterathe launch of the Single Market, certain barriers still remain. In the European Year of Workers' Mobility, the proportion of companies recruiting staff from other member states is only 27%. Improving language skills and overcoming an apparent lack of information on recruitment and equivalent qualifications seem to be the best way of facilitating worker mobility.

The majority of executives consider that enlargement has not had an impact on their business activity. However, when the...

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