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Ministers discussed a deepening of the internal market for a powerful recovery and a competitive, sustainable Europe. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner Theirry Breton took part in the debate on behalf of the European Commission.

Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier said:

The internal market is the economic framework in which we intend to shape Europe’s green and digital transition. In an increasingly difficult global environment, the internal market is also a shared strategic resource for us in the EU. Our aim as the EU Council Presidency is to build a strong economic platform for a successful future for Europe. We are therefore calling for a functioning and forward-looking internal market which, together with an ambitious industrial policy, strong and innovative SMEs and progress on digitalisation, is essential for Europe’s economic base.

In order to deepen the internal market, an Action Plan from the Commission is to help improve implementation and enforcement of internal market rules, and unjustified impediments in the internal market are to be removed. Elements for a forward-looking internal market include, for example, the green and digital transition, an internal market for small and medium-sized enterprises, free and fair competition, a level playing field, including in relation to third countries, and structural reforms in the member states to boost competitiveness.

With regard to these issues, conclusions on a deepened internal market for a strong recovery and a competitive, sustainable Europe are to be adopted in the coming days. Also, the issues of the internal market, industrial policy and digital affairs are to be included on the agenda of the European Council on 24-25 September 2020.

In view of the potential worsening of the epidemiological situation, Minister Altmaier also argued that measures taken by member states to tackle COVID-19 should not cause dislocations to the internal market, as the internal market ensures that our economic lifelines work all across Europe. He also said that we need to make sure during the crisis that value and supply chains are maintained; and information, coordination and cooperation between the member states and the Commission is ensured.