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Social Affairs
Which, in your opinions, is the most important proposal, the EU Commission presented, on Social Affairs?
  • 10 days paternity leave
  • 4 months of parental leave per parent
  • 5 days Carer's leave
  • Flexible working arrangements
Vote
Show Results
  • The EU's response to the
    One of our student interns produced this well-written article about the ongoi...
    20 February 2017
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • The importance of labour
    This article, written by a student at the University of Malta, passionately c...
    20 February 2017
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Strengthened EU-Swiss Re
    The EU enjoys very close relations with Switzerland in every sense: culturall...
    29 December 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • A boost for the European
    The European Commission is stepping up its efforts to develop a strong space ...
    26 October 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • EU increasing support fo
    The EU has announced that it shall implement new aid programmes in the Latin ...
    26 October 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes EU c
    Delivering on the Security Union: Commission proposes EU certification system...
    07 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • VAT Gap: Nearly €160 bil
    A staggering €159.5 billion in Value Added Tax revenues were lost across the ...
    06 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Variable attitudes towar
    Performance-related pay and employee reward systems in Europe are often uneve...
    01 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes 2018
    The Commission is also seeking to highlight the role of Europe's cultural her...
    30 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • EU's 2017 budget: Parlia
    The EU's budget for next year will be decided over the coming months. Startin...
    30 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes fish
    The European Commission today tabled its proposal on fishing opportunities in...
    29 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Towards better social st
    The Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on new, integrated ways to...
    24 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
The Single Market  
The Single Market

The single market also called the internal market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. Restrictions on trade and free competition between member countries have gradually been eliminated but the single market has not yet become a single economy. Some sectors (in particular services of general interest: electricity, water, fuel…) are still subject to national laws.

The European Economic Community (EEC) abolished customs barriers between member states to apply a common customs tariff to goods from non-EEC countries.
The single market benefits all consumers, for example the opening up of national markets for services has brought down the price of national telephony calls to a fraction of what they were 10 years ago. EU airlines may now operate air services on any route within the EU and set fares at any level they choose. Consequently any routes have opened up and prices have fallen dramatically.

Physical barriers

All border controls within the EU on goods have been abolished, together with customs controls on people, but the police still carry out random spot checks as part of the fight against crime and drugs. Following the introduction of the Schengen Agreement further improvements in this regards were made. Schengen will be explained further in another lesson.

Technical barriers

Since 1979 any product legally manufactured and sold in one member state must be allowed to be placed on the market in all others. Where services are concerned, EU countries mutually recognise or coordinate their national rules allowing people to practice professions such as law, medicine, tourism, banking or insurance. Freedom of people and practicing professions however still requires further work.

Tax barriers

These have been reduced by partially aligning national VAT rates.

Public contracts

Public contracts in any EU country are now open to bidders from anywhere in the EU.

Competition

The EU’s competition policy is essential for ensuring that, within the European single market, competition is not only free but also fair. The purpose of this policy is to prevent any business cartel, any aid from public authorities or any unfair monopoly from distorting free competition within the single market. 

Protecting citizens

EU legislation aims to give al consumers the same degree of financial and health protection, regardless of where in the EU they live, travel or do shopping. Europe-wide consumer protection is needed in many other fields too, which is why there are numerous EU directives on the safety of cosmetics, toys, fireworks, etc… The EU also takes action to protect consumers from false and misleading advertising, defective products and abuses in areas such as consumer credit and mail-order or internet selling.
  • The EU's response to the...
    One of our student interns produced this well-written article about the ongoi...
    20 February 2017
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • The importance of labour...
    This article, written by a student at the University of Malta, passionately c...
    20 February 2017
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Strengthened EU-Swiss Re...
    The EU enjoys very close relations with Switzerland in every sense: culturall...
    29 December 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • A boost for the European...
    The European Commission is stepping up its efforts to develop a strong space ...
    26 October 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • EU increasing support fo...
    The EU has announced that it shall implement new aid programmes in the Latin ...
    26 October 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes EU c...
    Delivering on the Security Union: Commission proposes EU certification system...
    07 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • VAT Gap: Nearly €160 bil...
    A staggering €159.5 billion in Value Added Tax revenues were lost across the ...
    06 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Variable attitudes towar...
    Performance-related pay and employee reward systems in Europe are often uneve...
    01 September 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes 2018...
    The Commission is also seeking to highlight the role of Europe's cultural her...
    30 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • EU's 2017 budget: Parlia...
    The EU's budget for next year will be decided over the coming months. Startin...
    30 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Commission proposes fish...
    The European Commission today tabled its proposal on fishing opportunities in...
    29 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
  • Towards better social st...
    The Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on new, integrated ways to...
    24 August 2016
    read more...
    Europe Direct Valletta
Valletta
The EUROPE DIRECT network is one of the Commission’s main tools to offer information to citizens at local level and to gather citizens` feedback for the European Institutions. EDICs are a direct entry point to the Union for the citizens, offering general EU information, referring to specialised information sources, raising awareness and promoting debate.
read more...
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