New APPG for European Reform report calls on EU leaders to adopt radical services liberalisation

London, (PresseBox) - The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on European Reform has today published a Report entitled "The EU Single Market in Services", to coincide with the opening of the EU Summit on Growth and Jobs in Brussels.

The Report's assessment of the current position demonstrates that there is no "single market in services" in any meaningful sense. This is due in part to the sheer diversity of service sectors in the EU, and because these sectors are regulated by a complex mix of national and EU regulation.

In preparing its report, the APPG took evidence from businesses in a range of different service sectors, from financial and business services to retail and the creative industries. The report has been drafted by the think tank Open Europe, which acts as the APPG's secretariat.

Greater liberalisation of only those sectors covered by the Services Directive (which account for some 45% of the EU's GDP) could boost EU GDP by over 2%.

The APPG proposes a package of changes to tackle the serious failings of the present arrangements. These include: adopting the 'country of origin' principle that would enable service providers to trade across EU borders under their home country regulation - if necessary, through enhanced cooperation among a group of like-minded EU member states; reducing the number of regulated professions; installing a liberalising EU Commissioner; developing the potential of e-commerce; applying "Better Regulation" principles; ensuring that EU regulation does not hamper trade with non-EU countries; and establishing new mechanisms to block unnecessary or discriminatory regulation.

Commenting on the Report, APPG Co-Chair Andrea Leadsom MP said:

"The EU's approach to the liberalisation of trade in Services is yet another example of how badly out of tune Brussels is with the needs of the British people, indeed of all Member States' populations.

The irony on this occasion is that, whereas most of the time we suffer from too much EU, in this instance we're paying the price for too little EU.

The EU Growth and Jobs Summit is the perfect opportunity to make the case for the radical overhaul of EU policy to boost the trade in services.

We urge the Prime Minister to press for early and far-reaching change."

Commenting on the Report, APPG Co-Chair Thomas Docherty MP said:

"The service sector is hugely important to the UK economy, in terms of both our domestic market and foreign trade.

But because very little has been done to ensure that there is a genuine single market in services, British companies are effectively working with one hand tied behind their backs.

There are numerous straightforward changes which can be quickly and easily introduced to put right these hugely damaging shortcomings. And they can't come soon enough."

Open Europe Research Director Stephen Booth said:

"Introducing a so-called country of origin principle for services - meaning if you can trade in one country you can trade in all - would remove hundreds of barriers to trade in the EU in one stroke, instantly boosting growth and jobs.

With the German elections behind us and everyone in Europe talking about competitiveness, there's now a huge window of opportunity to make this happen."

Notes for Editors

1) The full copy of the report is available at: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Content/Documents/Pdfs/APPGreportservices2013.pdf

2) The APPG, co-chaired by Andrea Leadsom MP and Thomas Docherty MP, holds regular meetings to research and evaluate various different areas of EU policy and assess them on their merits, including whether they are better dealt with at the national, regional or local level. The APPG works with MEPs, interest groups and other experts to explore what a reformed Europe, including a new UK-EU relationship, could look like and what needs to be done to get there. Open Europe acts as the APPG's secretariat and drafts its reports.

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