The free movement of goods and services are two of the four fundamental freedoms of the Union. Our audit work in this area comes under the EU budget’s sub-heading of competitiveness for growth and jobs.
As the EU’s auditors, we also look ahead in order to help address key challenges facing the EU in future. International rules, free trade and multilateralism are core EU principles. With the emerging trend of protectionism, these principles will be put under pressure with new narratives about what free trade should achieve, for which groups it should be considered ‘fair’, and how the costs and benefits of free trade are distributed.
On the other hand, the fewer non-EU trade opportunities there are, the more beneficial the EU internal market is for national economies. However, even more than 20 years after the launch of the single market initiative, many obstacles to the free flow of goods and services between Member States remain to be overcome.
We will keep all these factors in mind when selecting our audit tasks and formulating recommendations for the future.