Tucked away in an old building, where few people knows of its existence, lives one of the most important parliamentary creatures – the House of Lords European Union Committee. Often ignored because it applies analysis to a debate where loudness is the main currency, it has produced a new report on the Single Market.
The government would do well to read it. For pushing the Single Market should be what animates the Europe Directorate in the Foreign Office. The Single Market is the main reason for British membership of the EU and the committee implies that successive governments, including the Cameron administration, have dropped the ball in this area. As their report puts it, the UK should ‘return to its position of strongly championing the Single Market.’
The reason why this is necessary, says the committee, is because the implementation of Single Market rules ‘is too slow and inaccurate.’ The Services Directive, meant to liberalise the European market in services and so crucial for the British economy, ‘has still not been implemented adequately two years after the deadline’. There is no more important European policy area than liberalising Europe-wide trade and the government should even consider having a Single Market Minister to champion this full-time.