Reforming the single market and fostering EU competitiveness: can the EU regain its edge? (April 9)

Speakers: Slotboom Outi, Pelkmans Jacques, Niederländer Frank, De Vijlder William, Lenchant Lucas
Moderator: Tamma Paola

We are delighted to invite you to a hybrid event which will be held on Tuesday, 9th of April at 17.00.

This event will consist of an afternoon of discussion on the question of the future of the Single Market and how the EU can regain its competitive edge. The event will also be a timely opportunity to debate on how an integrated agenda for competitiveness would make the EU economic model more adaptable to a fast-changing world, with our distinguished speakers:

Lucas Lenchant, Senior Advisor to the Permanent Representative to the EU institutions, European Investment Bank (EIB) will hold a keynote speech.

The debate will be moderated by Paola Tamma, Brussels Correspondent, Financial Times.

This event is public and will be held both online and onsite at the premises of L42.

This event is kindly supported by

About the debate

In 2008, according to some sources, the EU economy and the US economy had nearly equivalent gross domestic products, while the EU single market was performing slightly better than the US internal market in GDP terms. However, it has been remarked that the European economy is now at 65 % compared to the size of the United States as, per capita, the US gross domestic product is nearly half the size of the EU’s GDP and that the gap is increasing. It has also been acknowledged that the EU lags behind in crucial domains such as technological innovation and workers’ skills.

Years of slow growth, the Covid crisis and the energy crisis which followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, coupled with the challenges connected to the digital and green transition are some of the crucial factors which have determined this state of play. In addition, several commentators have pointed at the fragmentation of the Single Market and the consequent failure to fully realise the potential of the EU’s population of 450 million, as well as at the lack of co-operation between EU innovators, companies and financial actors from across the old continent, as features of the European economic system which should be urgently addressed. In contrast, other commentators have regarded regulatory burdens and state aid aimed at improving the competitiveness of national economies inside the EU, rather than EU competitiveness on a global scale, as both indicators and dynamics which should be curbed or reshaped.

Against this backdrop, at the end of 2023, the EU institutions decided to commission two strategic studies of fundamental importance for the future of the Union respectively to Enrico Letta, who is working on a report on the future of the Single Market, and Mario Draghi, who is investigating on the question of the European economy competitiveness. While the former report was requested by the European Council and is due to be presented in March, the European Commission put the ex ECB President in charge of the latter report, which should be published in June.

In fact, the global arena has entered a new geo-economic era that makes competitiveness more urgent and more challenging for Europe, if the old continent wishes to remain relevant from both an economic and diplomatic standpoint. To thrive in this new era, Europe is in need of an integrated agenda for competitiveness and growth with business leaders and policy makers working together so to adapt the European model to a fast-changing world and safeguard the EU’s standards of living and way of life.



This is a public event, hence the Chatham House Rule will not apply.

The event will start at 17.00 online, while the onsite welcoming will begin at 16.30. The discussion will last around an hour and a half.

Due to a limited number of seats, please await final confirmation from us after registration, if you wish to attend this event in person.

The audience will be able to ask questions both in person or through #EUcompetitiveness

We look forward to hosting you on the 9th of April 2024.