Press Advisories

2. 2. 2009 15:25

Protectionism is not the answer to economic slowdown

Barvy českého předsednictví
Barvy českého předsednictví
On 2 February 2009 the Czech Republic, currently holding the rotating Presidency of the EU, hosted a Conference on the Future of Services in the Internal Market in Prague.

This event was organised jointly by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the European Commission. Three panel discussions took place during the day, with MEPs, representatives of Member States, Commission officials, European business organisations and think-tanks among participants. Mr Martin Tlapa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, opened the conference reminding participants that in this climate of economic uncertainty, protectionism is not the answer. He stated that “the fewer barriers there are in Europe, the more competitive we are as a whole.

This is all the more important in times of crisis. We need to continue dismantling barriers in the Internal Market and preventing new ones from being created. This is particularly important for SMEs, which will be benefiting the most from the opening of the services market." Mr Jörgen Holmquist, Director General for Internal Market and Services at the European Commission, stressed "the crucial importance of the Services Directive as a key instrument for unlocking the full growth potential of the services sector in the Internal Market". For that purpose, he called on all Member States "to step up efforts and make sure that adequate resources are deployed in national administrations to ensure effective implementation of the Directive by the 28 December 2009 deadline.” The ongoing process of implementation of the Services Directive is particularly challenging for Member States.
Not only the Directive requires Member States to adopt legislative measures (for example, the Czech Republic will amend 37 laws), but also to set up several innovative large-scale projects, such as the development of closer administrative cooperation between Member States and the creation of "Points of Single Contact" to facilitate the establishment of new businesses. Looking at the future, the Conference Conclusions stressed the need for Member States to continue working together towards a fully functioning Internal Market for services, including by improving the use of e-government solutions. In 2010 Member States and the Commission will engage in an exercise of mutual evaluation in order to determine to what extent the implementation of the Services Directive has resulted in an effective removal of existing barriers in the services sector. The outcome of this mutual evaluation should be taken into account when considering the way forward towards a better functioning Internal Market for Services.

contacts: Tomáš Bartovský, spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic
tel.: +420 224 853 311, GSM: +420 602 508 328;

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