The European Commission has put forward new proposals to make it easier for people and businesses to move and do business within the European Union.
The commission’s Single Market Act II has four key aims.
They include fostering mobility of citizens and businesses across borders and making it easier to gain access to finance across the 27 nation EU area.
The act also hopes to strengthen social entrepreneurship and boost consumer confidence.
The commission says the new act should boost employment across the crisis-hit region, particularly for young people.
It follows close after the first Single Market Act, which was adopted in April last year.
The commission says a second act, with a second set of priorities, is now needed to continue expanding ease of investment and movement within the single marketplace.
It contains 12 key ideas under the four headings.
Among the key aims are:
- making online payments more efficient, the commission says that 35% of internet users do not buy online because they have doubts over payment methods
- opening up domestic rail passenger services to operators from other member states
- speeding up the opening up of EU airspace so it operates as a single entity – something the commission says could save air travellers 5bn euros ($6.5bn, £4bn) a year
- opening up energy markets so the 500 million citizens of the EU can chose their power supply from across the whole EU region – something the commission says could collectively save 13bn euros if all citizens switched to the cheapest tariff
The commission will put forward all key legislative proposals of the new act by spring 2013 and the rest by the end of next year.
It hopes that the act will be in force by the spring of 2014.
The European Commissioner for internal market and services, Michel Barnier, said the act provided a chance to kickstart Europe’s economy.
“I am convinced that the 12 key actions that we are presenting today will receive the degree of political ownership that they deserve,” he said.
“This is our chance to use our golden asset, the single market, to see our social market economy be competitive and thrive again.”