Fabian Demicoli

Commission Annual Growth Survey 2012

 On the 23rd of November, the Commission published the Communication on the Annual Growth Survey 2012 accompanied by a progress report on the Europe 2020 Strategy. For 2012, the Commission considers that efforts at national and EU level should concentrate on the following five points:

Pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation (includes tax reforms).

Restoring normal lending to the economy.

Tackling unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis.

Modernising public administration; enhance the performance of the civil justice system so that claims can be settled in a reasonable time frame – undue delay is costly for businesses and often means they are unable to take advantage of new business opportunities. In this context the Commission has indicated its intention to propose to improve the effectiveness of cross border insolvency rules.

Promoting growth and competitiveness for today and tomorrow; according to the survey, reform which improve the business environment and competitiveness should also be a priority. It mentions that the Europe-wide market is still too fragmented and that it does not allow firms to grow and enjoy the same economies of scale. Several framework conditions from access to finance to innovation capacities or regulatory obstacles are less conducive for firms to create and invest.

Examples of growth potential:

The EU Digital Single Market

Developing an EU market for secure mobile and online payment systems, improving data protection rules, promoting the use of public sector information. Reducing the costs and improving the quality of delivery of goods and services bought online, including through delivering sufficient level of consumer protection. Eliminating sales restrictions based on nationality or residence through guidelines on Article 20 of the Services Directive. Developing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) systems to provide fast and reliable arbitration to consumers and businesses in case of dispute.

A real internal market for services

Full implementation of the Services Directive. Sector specific performance tests will be conducted and follow up measures will be adopted by the end of 2012 to ensure full harmonisation. Enhancing competition and competitiveness in the retail sector, reducing the barriers for the entry and exit of firms, and eliminating unjustified restrictions for businesses and professional services, legal professions, accounting or technical advice, health and social sectors.

The Common European Sales Law (CESL) is also mentioned as one of the key actions for adoption by end of 2012.

The Communication can be found it:

http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/ags2012_en.pdf

The Annex can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/ags2012_annex1_en.pdf

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