• 16-APR-2014

  • Bruxelles, Belgium


500 Million Consumers, 28 Countries and One Single Market

500 million consumers, 28 countries and ONE Single Market
Last year the Single Market celebrated its 20th anniversary, that's 20 years of the free movement of goods, people, services and capital within the European Union. EU action has opened up national markets, brought down trade barriers and made services up to 90% cheaper.

The Single Market has harmonised the complex and different national laws of 28 Member States, making it easier and cheaper for the 23 million European companies to do business across borders. And with unrestricted access to 500 million people, trade between EU countries has grown by €2000 billion euros since 1992.

Thanks to a 25% reduction in red tape and a harmonised set of EU standards, selling on-line in Europe is a real opportunity for even the smallest of companies. And with more firms now competing against each other, it means lower prices for consumers and a wider choice of products and services that you wouldn't necessarily find at home or at the same price.

Since the EU liberalised the aviation sector and created a Single Market for air transport, it is now easier and cheaper to travel throughout Europe. Europeans can enjoy the benefits of a connected continent through a wider choice of routes and airlines, and lower prices - air fares have fallen by 40% since the 1990s. EU legislation offers disabled passengers special assistance at no extra cost and entitles everyone to certain rights if your journey is disrupted or cancelled.

Retired citizens can move to any Member State, still receive their statutory pension there and gain access to public healthcare. In fact, with the European Health Insurance Card EU citizens are entitled to receive medical treatment when abroad in any EU country.

The Single Market is an essential platform for growth, especially in times of economic crisis. With unemployment at nearly 12% in the EU nearly 30% in Greece and Spain, it offers people the opportunity to go across borders to look for work without the need for a permit. EURES, the EU's online job portal, links over a million jobseekers with 30,000 employers in 31 countries. Erasmus, the student exchange programme, has helped 2.5 million students in the last 25 years to study or train in another Member State. And mutual recognition of professional qualifications has given hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to find work abroad.

Available material includes an edited package.