For a Single Market with a Purpose - FoodDrinkEurope Manifesto

For a Single Market with a purpose: Together we must complete and reinforce the most significant achievement of the European Union

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the European Single Market. Even those of us who were around before the Single Market happened have generally forgotten what it was like to travel, to work, to benefit from healthcare or to live in another European country. Today the Single Market may be taken for granted, but when we meet an obstacle to business or private plans, then we realise how much things have changed. This said, many obstacles remain to the free circulation of people, goods, capital and services, the four basic principles on which the Single Market rests.

With this in mind, recently we launched a new campaign to celebrate and promote the Single Market, showcasing its benefits for businesses and consumers alike. Our project “Pantries of Europe” was just one ingredient in this campaign, prompting us to acknowledge how much more diverse our pantries have become since the lifting of cross-border restrictions in 1993. The goal of this campaign is to demonstrate that the tremendous choice, diversity, high quality and sheer great taste we find in food and drinks throughout the EU would not have been possible without the Single Market and its EU level legislation.

The food and drink industry is Europe’s leading manufacturing sector, with a turnover of more than 1 trillion euros, and a key job provider, with 4.2 million direct employees. The EU is also the largest exporter of food and drink products in the world, with exports almost doubling over the past decade. The EU’s Single Market is by far the food and drink industry’s main market, accounting for around 90% of its turnover. Intra-EU exports represent almost 250 billion euros annually.

Our sector is committed to continue along the path of economic growth and job creation for EU citizens, to ensure the satisfaction and well-being of consumers and to achieve this in an environmentally sustainable way.

The industry’s commitment to growth is threatened by increasing fragmentation of the Single Market, with different EU Member States choosing to go their own way on important pieces of food and drink legislation. In this context, a well-functioning Single Market for food and drinks is now becoming our industry’s most important priority.

Europe’s food and drink industry needs a Single Market with a purpose: a common approach for the food and drink sector that promotes growth, sustainability and quality of the European food supply chain. We rely on the values of the Single Market to ensure the diversity, the safety, the availability and the affordability of our products, as well as to provide the right framework to work in harmony with farmers and other operators across the food chain, and importantly, to promote fairness and growth across the entire chain.

Together with our members, we need to convince policy makers and other stakeholders that the Single Market is not only essential to the food and drink sector but that it is the only way to support growth and to avoid re-nationalisation and protectionism.

With the upcoming European elections, now is the time to stand behind the Single Market and to stand behind the European project and to defend it. We need to eliminate fragmentation that creates problems for trade and business, and create the right conditions for the free movement of goods in the EU.

To find out how we can all join forces for a Single Market with a purpose, click here to view FoodDrinkEurope’s Single Market Manifesto.