Pragmatism on single market priorities will be the order of the day. The Danish government will try to take forward issues that offer growth potential, given its conviction that as the economic and fiscal crises drag on, it is crucial to focus on promoting a relaunch of the single market for the benefit of companies and citizens.

This conviction explains its plans to emphasise recognition of professional qualifications, public procurement rules, a new European framework for standardisation and the long-awaited European patent. The Danes are more cautious when it comes to the second phase of priorities for the Single Market Act (SMA).

Professional qualifications: The draft directive on recognition of professional qualifications was presented in late December 2011, but debate within the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament is already fairly advanced on its main feature: the European professional card. Bernadette Vergnaud (S&D, France), who will be the Parliament's rapporteur, will have to examine the sensitive questions of partial access to professions, assessment of working knowledge of a language, the common training framework and compensation measures.

Standardisation; Ministers held an initial airing of views, at the Competitiveness Council on 29 September, on the new European framework for standardisation. They welcomed the proposal, but warned the Commission not to give priority to speed over quality in the standards adoption process. MEPs expressed similar concerns. Derogations for information and communication technologies, the place of SMEs, representatives of society, and the inclusion of services in its scope will be addressed in the report by Lara Comi (EPP, Italy), to be put to the vote in committee in March.

Public procurement: Modernisation of public procurement rules, presented on 20 December, and the new draft directive on concessions will also be debated in the Competitiveness Council. The challenge is to develop this sector, which accounts for 19% of the Union's GDP - an issue of strong importance to the Danes. The component related to external public procurement, the subject of a joint proposal by Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, has been postponed to early 2012. This...

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