- Politicians have not shown leadership, they have been too nationalistic and have failed to articulate and explain the significant economic advantages to be obtained by the EU operating as a cohesive economic bloc.
- Progress towards a European single market has been significant and the economic and political benefits have been large. There are, however, more steps to be taken and these will bring further important benefits.
- Europe is still a globally competitive region but this position is under threat and actions are needed to invest in infrastructure, skills and the reduction of internal trade barriers.
- Europe has innovative strengths but is not as technologically innovative as the United States. This may improve as the single market develops further but there are also measures that can be taken now to help the EU and member states become more innovative, and to encourage the development of a more entrepreneurial culture.
- EU trade performance overall is good but could be improved by a focus on helping SMEs to trade internationally, and by cooperative marketing of the EU by member states.
- Since 2010, the EU and many member states have neglected their key assets, namely well trained and educated workers, as they have pursued policies to achieve balanced budgets by cutting government expenditure. This has not led to growth or increased international competitiveness and needs to be reversed to focus on modern industrial strategies that build on EU strengths in the production of high value goods and services.
- The leading EU economy, Germany, has a thriving SME sector and there would be great benefits if the whole of the EU attached a higher priority to developing and sustaining SMEs by means of finance, training and skills, and an appropriate level of regulation.
- In the areas of fiscal and macroeconomic coordination, European debate and actions appear to have been dominated by fears of failure rather than determination to achieve success and reap its rewards. Recent developments concerning the ECB are showing promise but need stronger backing from national politicians.
- In financial services, progress has been made towards banking union but insufficient effort has been made to communicate the benefits this would bring. Similarly, in retail financial services there is insufficient focus on the benefits that would flow from completing the single market in retail and SME banking services.
These conclusions and the actions recommended to address them represent concrete and significant steps that could be taken to get Europe moving together and gain associated economic benefits.