Too many obstacles to EU trade, MEPs say

Apr 21, 2016


A committee of MEPs has today lamented that far too many obstacles exist to trading across the bloc – nearly 25 years since the expiry of a target for completing the single market set out in the Single European Act.

Adopting a report drafted by European Conservatives and Reformists MEP Daniel Dalton, the European Parliament’s internal market committee called for a renewed push on eliminating the so-called ‘non-tariff barriers’ that stand in the way of cross-border trade within the EU.

Tariffs were eliminated half a century ago, yet technical standards and red tape continue to prevent the EU Single Market from achieving its full potential. As well as a drive to ensure better enforcement of rules that already exist, Mr Dalton has criticised governments who continue to adopt protectionism in domestic markets. As a result, he says, many businesses and consumers see little difference between EU and non-EU markets in terms of bureaucratic hurdles that must be overcome.

Speaking after the adoption of his report today, Mr Dalton said:

“Businesses and consumers may no longer have to pay tariffs when buying or selling from other EU countries, but they do often face a nightmare of red tape. For many people, buying a product elsewhere in the EU is not much easier than buying it from outside due to the large number of obstacles and barriers that exist.
“Of course we are not talking about harmonisation across the entire EU. Sometimes there are times when some competing visions of regulation can encourage competition, but there are still far too many unnecessary protectionist rules in place.

“All the time these unnecessary barriers are in place, we will not fulfil the potential of the single market to be a tool for businesses and entrepreneurs to create new jobs. However, it is consumers who will suffer the most due to less choice and higher prices. If EU governments are serious about making the single market work then we need a serious push on tearing down the walls that impede trade.”