Enrico Letta’s report on the Future of the Single Market


On 17 April, former Head of Italian government Enrico Letta, presented his report on the Future of the Single Market, commissioned by the European Commission and the European Council. The report can be downloaded here. 

 The Single Market is one of the pillars of the European Union, and when it was launched 30 years ago it sought to strengthen integration and overcome trade barriers. Enrico Letta’s Report provides an analysis on the state of the Single Market today and on its future. This document is expected to serve as a guideline for the next legislature, overseeing the needs and changes that are needed to further strengthen the EU Single Market and foster collaboration and trade between its Member States. Most importantly, the Report will be used as a basis for the EU strategic agenda 2024-2029, which sets the EU’s political priorities for the future EU mandate. The adoption of the strategic agenda is expected in June 2024. 

The Report unfolds into two main sections. The first one outlines the political vision collected through Letta’s meetings and discussions across Europe, while the second one provides practical policy recommendations. These are ordered per topic and divided into six chapters, as per below: 

  • A 5th freedom to enhance research, innovation and education in the Single Market, which proposes introducing a fifth freedom focused on research, innovation, knowledge and education to enhance the Single Market’s innovation capabilities. 
  • A Single Market to finance strategic goals, which emphasises innovative mechanisms in the Single Market to mobilise resources to reach common objectives.  
  • A Single Market to play big: scale matters, which addresses the issues of scale-up and growth of European companies and focusing on specific sectors where the ambition of the Single Market can be raised. 
  • A Sustainable Single Market for all, which includes proposals on improving economic integration for citizens, SMEs and regions. 
  • A Single Market to go fast and go far, which offers an overview of the improvements that can be made to the regulatory framework, including by strengthening speedy and efficient enforcement. 
  • A Single Market Beyond its Borders, which examines the external dimension of the Single Market and its interactions with internal dynamics. 

The report includes a number of suggestions relevant for the e-commerce and retail sector. It calls for establishing a European Circular Single Market and proposes further harmonisation in the area of sustainability information. It also focuses on European SMEs and the challenge of fragmentation and administrative burden. Another example includes a call for harmonising and modernising VAT policy across the EU. Finally, a number of suggestions are also put forward regarding the harmonisation and better enforcement of consumer policy 

Overall, the Report includes valuable policy orientations and recommendations to tackle the challenges posed, among others, by the twin transitions and to become a competitive global actor. It also provides an exhaustive reflection on the institutional, procedural and structural shortcomings creating obstacles to a more cohesive policymaking end enforcement process, and echoes in a number of ways Ecommerce Europe’s own Key Principles and Priorities embedded in our Manifesto for the European Elections 2024.