1 Utrikesdepartementet Enheten för främjande och inre marknad Stockholm 31 januari 2011 Remiss: Europeiska kommissionens meddelande: På väg mot en inre marknadsakt De svenska handelskamrarna har emottagit Utrikesdepartementets remiss beträffande Europeiska kommissionens meddelande med 50 förslag för att stärka Europas konkurrenskraft och öka förtroendet för den inre marknaden. Handelskamrarna inom Svenska Handelskammarförbundet tillsammans med Västsvenska Industri- och Handelskammaren har författat ett svar på Europeiska kommissionens konsultation i samma ärende. Detta dokument bilägges vårt svar på Utrikesdepartementets remiss. Som framgår av bifogat dokument, prioriterar Handelskamrarna nedanstående initiativ främst bland de 50. Detta urval motiveras i dokumentet. 1. EU-patentet 2. Upphovsrätt 5. Elektronisk handel 7. Integrerat transportsystem 12. Små och medelstora företags tillgång till kapital 17. Offentlig upphandling 22. Elektronisk identifiering/autentisering 28. Europeiska radiospektrum 33. Erkännande av yrkeskvalifikationer 47. Medlemsländernas genomförande av EU-reglerna Handelskamrarna ställer sig tveksamma till följande förslag i kommissionens meddelande: 15. Privata obligationslån för finansiering av europeiska projekt (EU-projektobligationer) Det är oklart i förslaget vad som avses och det finns en klar risk att dessa skulle snedvrida konkurrensen. 23. Internationell handel: Att inre marknadsakten även inkluderar internationell handel är mycket positivt och viktigt för företagen. Vi ser dock en stor risk för ökad protektionism med de skrivningar som förekommer och refererar till skydd av EU:s marknad och reciprocitet i EU:s handelspolitik. Vi ber därför Utrikesdepartementet om särskild uppmärksamhet på detta område.
2 36. Socialt entreprenörskap: Vad gäller denna punkt vill vi särskilt uppmärksamma skrivningarna om att revidera reglerna för offentlig upphandling och inkludera obligatoriska krav på socialt ansvarstagande i dessa. Denna typ av krav hör inte hemma i lagstiftningen kring offentlig upphandling och skulle väsentligt försvåra och hindra en mer transparent och öppen offentlig upphandling i Europa. 38. Företagsstyrning: Vi ställer oss också mycket kritiska till förslaget om icke-finansiell redovisning för företagen. Företagens CSR-arbete bygger på internationella, frivilliga regelverk såsom exempelvis FN:S Global Compact och bör fortsätta göra så. Reglering på detta område skulle begränsa Europeiska företags internationella konkurrensmöjligheter och bromsa den positiva utveckling som skett i företagens engagemang i CSR-arbetet. 48. Samråd och dialog med civila samhället. Det är mycket positivt att Europeiska kommissionen utvecklar sitt samrådsförfarande. Vi vill dock understryka betydelsen av att sådana samrådsförfaranden måste genomföras med transparens och utifrån en etablerad struktur samt att resultaten analyseras och beaktas utifrån de intressen som de representerar. Utöver de föreslagna åtgärderna anser Handelskamrarna att nedanstående aspekter saknas i Kommissionens meddelande. Följande punkter utvecklas i det bifogade dokumentet. E-upphandling. EU-Ombudsman för offentlig upphandling EU-bolag Policy för att främja vidareutnyttjande av handlingar från den offentliga förvaltningen (PSI) Allokering av medel i EU:s budget för att förbättra den inre marknadens funktion Maria Rankka, VD Stockholms Handelskammare För Svenska Handelskammarförbundet Johan Trouvé, VD Västsvenska Industri- och Handelskammaren Karin Malmström Stockholms Handelskammare
3 CONSULTATION ON THE SINGLE MARKET ACT Association of Swedish Chambers of Commerce 1. What is your overall assessment of the Single Market Act? Positive 1484/2000 tecken The Swedish Chambers strongly welcome the initiative on a Single Market Act (SMA) to consolidate the internal market. The single market is still; almost 20 years after its creation incomplete as substantial barriers remain to the free movement of people, goods, capital and services. An efficient and well-functioning internal market is a prerequisite for companies to be able to grow, invest and trade in Europe. The internal market also represents an important base for our companies ability to continue and grow on global markets. We are very positive to the fact that the Single Market Act includes a number of growth-oriented proposals with a righteous ambition for the internal market to be a driving force for the European economy. However, many of the issues tackled and proposed in the SMA are present on the European agenda since many months and in several cases many years. Therefore there is a real a sense of urgency to make this new strategy happen. Furthermore, both the Small Business Act and the Digital Agenda includes issues that are reoccurring in the SMA. If efficiently coordinated, the three tools will prove important to strengthen European growth and competitiveness. Lastly, the success of the Single Market Act strategy will depend on the content with which the proposals are filled and in the commitment from both institutions and member states to harmonise regulations, mutual recognise, implement the regulations and enforce strong market surveillance most important actions proposed in the Single Market Act 1. EU Patent 2. Copyright 5. Electronic commerce 7. Integrated transport system 12. SME access to finance 17. Public proceurement 22. E-identification/authentication 28. European radiospectrum 33. Recognition of professional qualifications 47. National transposition of EU rules 5906/6000 tecken
4 1. EU Patent: A patent is a pre-requisite for efficient, effective and affordable protection of European businesses. We support the use of the enhanced cooperation mechanism. However, the establishment of a common patent system also requires a patent court system. This will ensure legal certainty and reduce costs for legal representation. 2. Copyright: We support strong and functional intellectual property protection that balances the rights of creators and users, with reasonable exceptions and limitations on intellectual property rights. We welcome further work on harmonisation and the proposals on management of copyrights and orphan works. A review of the economics of intellectual property rights and standards within the European Union is needed. Care should be taken not to mix policies on intellectual property rights and counterfeit and piracy of physical goods (see proposal 3). Solutions must be sought in adaptation to the digital development. Internet should be characterized by the free flow of information, low barriers of entry for new online businesses and a stable, predictable legal environment. 5. Electronic commerce: Establishing a single European electronic market is a necessary step to complete the internal market. We welcome a review of existing barriers to increase cross border e-commerce. In addition to the important focus on the consumer aspect, rules and regulations also has to be adapted to e-commerce. Issues such as sales taxes and payment systems influence the ability of companies to operate online and across borders (cf. proposal 20). 7. Integrated transport system: Large parts of the European economy depend on traded goods A well-functioning, integrated European transport system is a key for further development of European industry. The importance of intermodal transports will steadily increase, due to higher demands on efficiency and environmental issues. Cross-border railway transports are confronted with many obstacles and delays due to different systems in different countries. And for most means of transports a number of technical, administrative and regulatory obstacles remain today. Ineffective and unreliable transports constitute a problem for producers, their customers and logistic companies who are all unable to compete in a predictable way. 12. SME access to finance: Access to finance and opportunities on the capital market is an area where businesses encounter significant problems. We support the proposal to adopt an action plan for improving SME access to finance in Public procurement: Public procurement policy should be reviewed by enhancing and streamlining existing approaches, to increase SME access to public procurement and crossborder procurement. A well-functioning cross-border public procurement would be a good tool to achieve other EU horizontal policy objectives, such as innovation, green growth etc. We welcome efforts to streamline procedures in order to reduce administrative burdens and thus facilitate businesses participation in public procurement procedures. Another important barrier for SME access to public procurement is contracting authorities' procurement culture. The creation of an EU Ombudsman for public procurement would provide a needed spokesman to help guide SME s and public buyers closer. 22. E-identification/authentication: We support the work on interoperability of systems for electronic identification and the proposal to review the directive on electronic signatures. The Directive on electronic signatures was an attempt to create a market through legislation, but it failed, not the least as regards the number of pan-european electronic signature solutions in
5 use. A review should also include developing alternative legal regimes, harmonizing regimes globally and looking to industry for new models and solutions. A review of public demand, use and deployment of these technologies should be undertaken by Member States. The EU should be as technologically neutral as possible. Meanwhile, the European Commission should be more critical of the varied implementation of the directive by Member States, which affects interoperability. 28. European radiospectrum: Promoting efficient use of radio spectrum frequencies throughout the EU could facilitate the emergence of markets for new technology and services. This would benefit all users of electronic communications in the EU, and have a substantial economic impact. We welcome flexibility, market-solutions and focus on the needs of both user and industry in allocating radio spectrum. This requires reduction of regulation and more influence of the market to allocate spectrum. Legislation should be carefully drafted to avoid unnecessary restrictions of applications and technology by users. It is important to encourage a market-based approach to management, through liberalization, trading, and releasing more spectrum. 33. Recognition of professional qualifications: This is crucial for the movement of people and workers within the union. We welcome the proposal to reform the current system and facilitate the movement of competence between the EU Member States. Many member states will have a high shortage of qualified labour, and easy recognition of qualification will significantly facilitate for the business community and stimulate cross-border mobility. 47. National transposition of EU rules: We believe that single market rules should be more strictly, effectively and uniformly applied at member states level. In addition to increased efforts from the Commission to enforce regulations, the methodology of mutual evaluation described in proposal 44 would be a useful tool. We would also underline the important role of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as SOLVIT to help businesses and citizens overcome problems related to internal market legislation. This is also in line with proposal Does the SMA propose appropriate measures to address the issues/challenges that are identified? Partly 1922/2000 tecken: 15. EU Project Bonds: The proposal on EU bonds has to be carefully assessed. There is a clear risk for distorted competition, and the new priorities for the EU budget have to be taken into account. 23. Incorporation of external trade in the SMA is positive and crucial. The internal market is a springboard for international trade, and adoption of international standards a key. However, we strongly oppose the reference to a need of reciprocity and defence of the European market. The European business community would be the first harmed if the EU pursued such strategy and abandoned its striving for free trade. 36: Social business: The proposal on social business is interesting and it is important to strengthen the climate for innovative entrepreneurship. However, revising the rules for public procurement in this context would be counter-productive and harm the efforts to open up
6 public procurement and increase cross-border procurement. Mandatory requirements relating to CSR for awarding contracts should be avoided in public procurement. 38. Corporate governance: Corporate responsibility is an integrated part of European business culture and management. Global frameworks such as UN Global Compact, OECD and ILO guidelines are today successfully providing businesses with tools to develop their efforts in this area. European legislative initiatives for CSR would be most unfortunate and risk hampering the competitive balance provided by global frameworks. In particular, we oppose any initiatives regarding CSR requirements relating to public procurement and disclosure of non-financial information of companies. 48: Consultation and dialogue with civil society: We welcome increased consultation and dialogue with civil society in the preparation and implementation of legislative texts. We would however like to stress the need of a transparent and well-defined methodology to ensure a balanced dialogue. 4. Are there any other issues you consider should be addressed in the SMA in the chapter on Strong, sustainable and equitable growth for business? Yes 2166/ 4000 tecken Comment to 3. Counterfeiting and piracy: IPR breaches occur in the physical and the online world. Actions to address the problems need to be adapted to these different environments. Whereas safety and health issues are common in the physical setting with for example counterfeited medicine or spare parts, measures to combat such problems are often not applicable or relevant in the online environment. Therefore, online services require regulatory reform of the legislative environment, for example to address illegal file sharing. Electronic procurement: To successfully increase cross-border public procurement, e- procurement will be a key. It is important to note that this aspect is missing in the SMA, it is only briefly mentioned in proposal 22. E-procurement is efficient with less administrative and transactional costs, it stimulates competition and would allow the business community to access the market for public services on a European level. Public Procurement: As stated in question 2, we would also like to underline the need to address the procurement cultures of contracting authorities, since this represents a major obstacle for bidding companies. Therefore, we suggest the creation of an EU Ombudsman for public procurement, to serve as a spokesman and bring SME s and public buyers closer. A facilitator between public buyers and bid managers would enable a productive dialogue and enhance innovative procurement throughout the public sector. European Private Company Statute: In particular for small and medium sized enterprises, a European Private Company Stature would reduce the administrative burden and provide companies with entrepreneurial flexibility. The previously discussed proposal should be included in the Single Market Act.
7 Public Sector Information: The re-use of Public Sector Information represents an opportunity for economic growth as well as innovation. Strengthening the directive and encouraging Member States to launch strong policies promoting PSI re-use is needed. Promoting an internal market of Public Sector Information and services based on PSI should be a part of both the Single Market Act and the Digital Agenda. 5. Are there any other issues you consider should be addressed in the SMA in the chapter on Restoring confidence by putting Europeans at the heart of the single market? 6. Are there any other issues you consider should be addressed in the SMA in the chapter on Dialogue, partnership, evaluation: the keys to good governance of the single market? Yes 338/2000 tecken: Allocating EU Budget resources for improving the Internal Market: We believe that the EU should allocate greater resources from the EU Budget to ensure that the internal market is more efficiently implemented and enforced. We also believe that substantial investments are needed to establish common systems on e-procurement and E-customs.