Failure to eliminate remaining barriers in the EU single market, particularly in the area of services, is holding back growth, job creation and consumer choice, ECR MEPs said today.

Flemish ECR MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, chairman of the European Parliament’s powerful Internal Market Committee, said that for too many in the EU “completion of the single market is simply a soundbite, not a serious political priority.”

She was speaking after the ECR Group opposed a parliamentary resolution on the European Commission’s Single Market in a Changing World package, citing its lack of ambition and failure to recognise Parliament’s own role in maintaining barriers to trade.

Instead the Group has published its own resolution, criticising some parliamentarians and member states for their unwillingness to complete the single market in services and regretting the lack of political leadership on the digital single market (DSM).

The ECR resolution makes several recommendations, including urging the Commission to make better use of its powers to take action against national rules challenging the single market. It also calls for a review of the DSM agenda, which the ECR considers has suffered from a failure of coherence and overall leadership under the Juncker Commission.

Miss Van Bossuyt said: “We are the only group in Parliament whose action on free trade matches its rhetoric.

“Today we have seen the EPP making common cause with the socialists, putting the so-called grand coalition ahead of people’s economic interests. That leads to situations such as when they blocked my e-card report, legislation that would have made it easier for companies to trade across borders.

“Some member states are equally guilty. We’ve seen some large countries frequently push for their national rules and regulations to become the EU-wide standard. That’s not pro-free trade, it’s pro-protectionism.”