EC Annual Single Market and Competitiveness Report

14th February, the European Commission published the new Annual Single Market and Competitiveness Report.

The report details the competitive strengths and challenges of Europe’s Single Market, tracking yearly developments according to the nine competitiveness drivers identified in the EU’s 2023 Long-term competitiveness Communication. Those are the functioning of the Single Market, access to private capital, public investment and infrastructure, research and innovation, energy, circularity, digitalisation, education and skills, and trade and open strategic autonomy. The 2023 Communication established a set of Key Performance Indicators to serve as a dashboard of progress regarding these drivers. While it is too early to establish stable trends, the report notes that 9 KPIs have improved, against 5 that have disimproved; 3 are stable, and 2 do not yet have new data.

The report recalls that the Single Market is one of the world’s largest integrated market areas, and that it boosts the EU’s economy with a large demand pool, diversified supply sources, opportunities for innovating and scaling up production, strong social rights, and fair working conditions, while serving as a geopolitical lever. It points to the needs to step up enforcement of agreed rules, and to simplify their implementation.

Regarding investment, the report concludes that public investment has recovered from the low levels after the financial crisis, partially thanks to the Recovery and Resilience Facility, while private investment remains high. To increase the availability of risk and venture capital funding and scale up innovative companies, the report recommends to further strengthen the Capital Markets Union, building on the initiatives already approved since 2020. It also points to public procurement as an instrument to support our green and digital transitions in a strategic way.

Although high energy prices remain a challenge, the report points to important steps taken over the past years in order to update the EU energy policy toolbox and support EU clean tech manufacturing.

The report also notes that the EU is a major trading power accounting for 16% of global exports, and that trade continues to be a source of competitiveness. It also points to the need to defend the level playing field and to protect our economic security.

For more information, please see here.