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EU pledges to boost competitiveness and deepen single market

Prime Minister's Office
Publication date 18.4.2024 19.24
Press release
On photo Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta
Photo: EU Council

The European Union will develop its long-term competitiveness and modernise its single market. The EU leaders also plan to simplify the Union’s capital markets. These are among the objectives decided on at the special European Council in Brussels on Thursday 18 April. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo represented Finland at the meeting.

Prime Minister Orpo recalled that the European single market was created in a very different world. In Orpo’s view, the EU must make use of its strengths if it is to succeed in the competition between great powers.

“Only a competitive economy can be a major player in world trade. The keys to our success are effective competition policy and a single market based on free movement. We also need to make sure our trade policy is responsible, rules-based, open and fair,” Prime Minister Orpo said.

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta opened the EU leaders’ discussion on the matter by presenting a report on the future of the single market. In his speech, Letta mentioned that he had been to Finland in autumn 2023 and had visited Nokia, for example. According to Prime Minister Orpo, Letta’s report provided a good basis for further discussions.

Prime Minister Orpo pointed out that small and medium-sized enterprises provide around 85 per cent of all jobs in Europe. “We need to lighten the administrative burden on businesses and eliminate unnecessary regulation,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

When it comes to strengthening the EU’s competitiveness, well-functioning capital markets play an integral role. The goal is to attract more investments to the EU.

“A key objective is to ensure an efficient and solvent financial market in which market risks are priced correctly and a bail-in mechanism is in place,” Prime Minister Orpo said.

Finland also highlighted the importance of a credible state aid policy. The EU state aid rules were made more flexible to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and the war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Orpo stressed the need to return to normal state aid practices.

“The EU needs an effective state aid policy that fosters predictability and promotes a favourable investment environment,” said Prime Minister Orpo.

The European Council agreed that, going forward, it would review progress on measures to develop competitiveness. The Council will make a decision on deepening the capital markets union in June and will develop a strategy for a modernised single market by summer 2025.

Inquiries: Jori Arvonen, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 16001, Tuomas Tikkanen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 523 5768 and Marko Ruonala, Project Manager (Communications), tel. +358 50 522 8233, Prime Minister’s Office.