Single Market Act to 'prevent protectionist policies in Europe'

28 October 2010

The EU is set to bring in the wide-ranging Single Market Act, which will see 172 new pieces of legislation introduced in the economic bloc.

Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for the single market, told the Guardian that the Act will help to prevent protectionist policies being introduced by individual governments.

"How is it possible that the single market is more and more necessary, yet less and less popular? The single market is fragile for reasons of protectionism, populism and nationalism," he stated.

Among the planned changes is an overhaul of corporate tax and VAT systems, as well as the removal of cross-border obstacles to e-commerce.

The intention of the changes is to aid small and medium-sized businesses operating in the EU, although the plans may be resisted by some European governments unhappy about potentially losing control over their own tax policies.

Earlier this month, Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization, said it is vital governments do not put global economic recovery at risk by pursuing protectionist policies at the expense of other countries.

By Tony Aynsley

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