42 July 2006
The changing focus of Internal Market policy-making
At the end of June, Alexander Schaub stepped down asDirector General of DG Internal Market and Service. SingleMarket News talked to Dr Schaub about the evolving focusof the work of the Directorate General and the challenges itfaces for the future.
"Compared to where we were some 20years ago, the progress that has beenmade in developing the Single Market hasbeen quite remarkable,” says AlexanderSchaub, Director General of DG InternalMarket and Services. "Today, EU citizenscan live, study, work or retire in which-ever country they like in Europe. Andconsumers have a wider choice of highquality products while companies havelarge and diverse markets at the disposalto develop their business with greatly re-duced technical impediments."Schaub also highlights the great changesthat have taken place in the structure of Europe's industry: “We should not for-get how easy it is to fly around Europe,often at prices that are only a fraction of what they used to be. Major industry sec-tors have been shaken up to the benefitof consumers. Just look at telecommuni-cations or energy where in the past theonly choice was often between nationalmonopoly or nothing at all. Now thereare many new operators and brandswhich is a real change for the better."But, he cautions, the many success storieswe can point to should not cause us tolose sight of fact that the EU still has a longway to go. "I think that the truth is thatthe Single Market will always be a work inprogress. It will never quite be ready butwe continue to make progress.”Benefits for citizens and businessDr Schaub stresses that enormous eco-nomic benefits that have been achievedover the past two decades and theseshould not be overlooked.“Studies have dem-onstrated that theInternal Market hasdelivered growth of about 6,000 europer household andgenerated 2.5 millionextra jobs in the dec-ade after its estab-lishment in 1993.”There is still muchwork to do, Schaubstresses, but much of it is of a differentnature as major changes have been takingplace in the focus of the work to be done:“For many years our job has been build-ing or redesigning the mechanics of theInternal Market which has meant takingthe divergent traditions of EU countriesand bringing them together in a mutu-ally acceptable, harmonised system. Thisinward-looking perspective is changingsince the globalisation of markets andbusiness has transformed the worldwhich we have to operate in.”"The policies we develop at EU level areboth affected by, and have an influence on,policies and legislation elsewhere in theworld. In today’s global markets, financial
"Our inward-lookingperspective is chang-ing. The globalisationof markets and busi-ness represents a newworld which we haveto operate in."