A single Benelux retail market way forward for EU
EuroCommerce today praised the initiative of Benelux to look at ways of creating a single retail market as a model for making the wider European Single Market work better for EU consumers, whether they buy products and services online or offline.
Christian Verschueren marked the launch of the study commissioned by Benelux, ‘Benelux Retail 2025’, looking at ways of creating a Single Market for retail in the Benelux countries:
“Retailers and wholesalers have long pointed to the many and significant barriers to doing business across borders in the EU. The Benelux initiative on jobs and growth launched by the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg prime ministers in 2015 are valuable pointers for how consumers in all countries of EU could benefit if Single Market barriers were removed, and the digital and offline market worked as it should. We are keen to see the recommendations quickly implemented and used as a model for the whole EU.”
The study shows that the Benelux could play a pivotal role in showing the EU the way forward in successfully integrating the three national markets to the benefit of growth, jobs and consumers, including in creating a stronger digital market. Benelux countries could benefit from this by creating 95,000 new jobs and 36,000 new enterprises.
Many retailers already think of the Benelux as their second home market, but still feel restrained in trading cross-border. EuroCommerce was particularly pleased to see the report reflect a number of issues holding back retailers and wholesalers in Benelux and the EU, and calling for action on these issues: gold-plating of EU legislation when member states implement it, different labelling requirements, different product standards and 28 different VAT regimes, slow application of mutual recognition, divergent payments systems, and growing problems arising from manufacturers imposing restrictions on where and what retailers can buy.
“These are all issues which hold back retail across Europe from offering consumers choice, and the best products at the best price. Action by Benelux to create a Single Market for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg can show the way for Europe at a time when the EU urgently needs new impetus to create growth and jobs”, Verschueren added.
A PDF version of the press release is available here.
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EuroCommerce is the principal European organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector. It embraces national associations in 31 countries and 5.4 million companies, both leading multinational retailers such as Carrefour, Ikea, Metro and Tesco and many small family operations. Retail and wholesale provide a link between producers and 500 million European consumers over a billion times a day. It generates 1 in 7 jobs, providing a varied career for 29 million Europeans, many of them young people. It also supports millions of further jobs throughout the supply chain, from small local suppliers to international businesses. EuroCommerce is the recognised European social partner for the retail and wholesale sector. http://www.eurocommerce.eu