The European Single Market and its Barriers
The European Single Market is at the heart of the European project – it leads to economic growth and prosperity for every one of us. European citizens benefit from a wide choice of services and products, as well as job opportunities. European businesses benefit from a large domestic market, stimulating trade, and improved efficiency.
However, we at BGA believe that the European Single Market has a lot of potential for improvement and we are putting our efforts into improving the trading opportunities on the single market for our members. This includes the identification of trade barriers or overly bureaucratic problems for traders. We also see it as a problem, when Member States breech agreed upon single market rules or create obstacles in their national law with the aim of protecting their national market.
In our work we put a special emphasis in supporting small and medium sized businesses, which account for 99% of all businesses in Europe. SMEs are the economic and social backbone of the European Union and must be treated accordingly. The companies do not have the means to comply with different sets of rules in every European country and are penalized by administrative burdens and complexity. We make it our priority, to help SMEs in their daily business, by providing the best political background and increasing awareness of their needs. We urge our members, to alert us of troubles and barriers that they might face in their everyday work life, in order to bring these to the attention of the European institutions with the goal of eliminating the problem.
Due Diligence Legislation
Small and medium-sizes businesses would be especially harmed by the current debates regarding a due diligence legislation – on both the German and the European level. A regulation that would require SMEs to control their entire supply chain would be impossible to fulfill.
We further see the danger of a spill-over effect, when bigger companies pass their compliance obligations on to smaller companies. Due to the bigger bargaining power in comparison to SMEs, this could lead to an additional burden for many small companies. We are currently trying to make the European Commission as well as the European Parliament aware of this issue and prevent a legislation that would allow such practices.
Against Nationalism and Protectionism
The worldwide trend of nationalism and protectionism is something that we are working against together with our European partners. We are aware, that the German economy can only flourish and grow in the union with our European partners. In a more and more interconnected world, the European Union needs to speak with a single, united voice.
We at BGA are saddened by the decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union. The British, with their liberal and pragmatic market-based economic decisions will be missed. Brexit will be a tough hit for the EU, both economically as well as politically – however, thanks to security measures taken, the worst might be avoided. A hard Brexit, with no free trade agreement, is still an option and has to be averted at all costs. We are preparing our members for the upcoming changes and their future trade with Great Britain through a variety of seminars and in depth discussions with different experts. Furthermore, BGA is a key partner in the Brexit Task Force established by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Ministry of Economic affairs.
Direct Access to EU institutions
In addition to the Berlin headquarter, BGA also has an official office in Brussels to assure the direct contact to the European institutions and different stakeholders. Our Coordinator of EU Policy, Laura Mack, is representing BGA in meetings and debates happening in Brussels and Berlin. For any inquiry on the BGA position on EU subjects, suggestions or questions, feel free to contact our office in Brussels or Berlin.
Furthermore, BGA is a member of two European associations:
- EuroCommerce, which represents national federations and companies in the retail, wholesale and international trade sector from 31 European countries. Further information can be found here: https://www.eurocommerce.eu/
- CITHA (European Confederation of International Trading Houses Associations), an NGO registered in Brussels with members from 9 different European countries. Further information can be found here: