Article 26(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defines the internal market as "an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties".
Travelling and working, buying and selling goods and services across borders
Today, we tend to take for granted that we can transport goods across the internal borders of the EU and that no restrictions apply to travellers or EU citizens taking up residence in another EU Member State, or indeed, (for the most part), in the European Economic Area (EEA), which comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. It is easy to forget just how long it took us to get to this point. In fact, the work on the implementation of these freedoms started when what was then the European Communities were still in their infancy.
The ‘Completing the Internal Market’ White Paper, which was published by the European Commission in 1985, gave fresh impetus to the Single Market and set 1992 as the deadline for its completion. Some remarkable progress has been made in the more than twenty years since the completion of the internal market. The single currency, the euro, is a visible sign to the outside world of how the markets in Europe have been growing together to form a single European internal market.
Governance and monitoring of the internal market
Individuals and companies can only make effective use of the opportunities offered by the internal market if every individual internal market directive is fully and correctly implemented by the Member States within the specified deadline. In order to monitor the Member States’ performance in this regard, the European Commission publishes the Single Market Scoreboard online. Various instruments are used to measure each Member State's performance in this area. The relevant criteria include the number of internal market directives that the Member State has failed to implement within the deadline and the performance of the country’s SOLVIT centres.
Development of the Economic and Monetary Union
The eurozone has successfully been stabilised in response to the economic and financial crisis. However, the work on the sustainable institutional strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union has not yet been completed.
The aim is to lastingly strengthen the resilience of the euro and consolidate the preconditions for a high level of growth, competitiveness and employment, and for sound public finances. In June 2015, the five Presidents of the European institutions presented ambitious plans to reach this aim. Former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron advocated the development of the Monetary Union towards a Social Union. You can find a joint article with specific proposals on the development of the Economic and Monetary Union .