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Single Market Programme - Performance

Programme for Single Market, Competitiveness of Enterprises, including Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and European Statistics

Programme in a nutshell

Concrete examples of achievements

0f the IFRS
standards endorsed in the EU in 2021.
position papers and responses
to public consultations in the field of financial services were produced in 2021.
2 000
notifications are received
every year (on average) through Safety Gate – the rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products.
cases of lumpy
skin disease have been reported since 2017.
790 000
SMEs in 35 countries
have received financing from the Loan Guarantee Facility since the start of 2021.

 Budget for 2021-2027


Rationale and design of the programme

The single market programme will improve the functioning of the internal market and help protect and empower citizens, consumers and businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The programme will support the design, implementation and enforcement of EU legislation underpinning the proper functioning of the single market for goods and services. It will also assist the digitalisation of services and business operations and facilitate market access and international cooperation, especially in the areas of company law, contract and extra-contractual law, anti-money laundering, free movement of capital, financial services and competition, for the plants, animals, food and feed sector. Overarching and contributing to all areas, the programme will support the development, production and dissemination of European statistics on all EU policies.

 Legal basis

Regulation (EU) 2021/690 of the European Parliament and of the Council



Single Market Programme

Implementation and performance



Budget programming (million EUR):

Financial programming583.1613.5592.8601.1610.2619.6626.34 246.7
Decommitments made available again (*)N/A      N/A
Contributions from other countries and entities24.6p.m.p.m.p.m.p.m.p.m.p.m.24.6
Total607.8613.5592.8601.1610.2619.6626.34 271.4

(*) Only Article 15(3) of the financial regulation.


more or less

  Financial programming:
  + EUR 38.7 million (+ 1%)
  compared to the legal basis


Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):

 Implementation2021-2027 BudgetImplementation rate
Commitments596.04 271.414%
Payments86.0 2%


Voted budget implementation in 2021 (million EUR):

 Voted budget implementationInitial voted budget

Contribution to horizontal priorities

EU budget contribution in 2021 (million EUR):

ClimateBiodiversityGender equality (*)
58.70Score 0*: 582.5

(*) Based on the applied gender contribution methodology, the following scores are attributed at the most granular level of intervention possible:
- 2: interventions the principal objective of which is to improve gender equality;
- 1: interventions that have gender equality as an important and deliberate objective but not as the main reason for the intervention;
- 0: non-targeted interventions;
- 0*: score to be assigned to interventions with a likely but not yet clear positive impact on gender equality.


Performance assessment



  • With implementation having just started, there is not enough information to carry out a detailed performance assessment of the 2021-2027 single market programme. This will be provided once the implementation has progressed further.


MFF 2014-2020 – Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

COSME supports measures to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs, which also achieve additionality at the EU level. This encompasses measures to foster growth; scale up and create SMEs; improve access to markets (including through internationalisation); improve access to finance for SMEs in the form of equity and debt; promote entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial skills, the business environment and digital transformation; create new business opportunities for SMEs (including those with innovative business models); improve the competitiveness of industrial ecosystems and sectors; develop industrial value chains; modernise industry; and contribute to a green, digital and resilient economy.



Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):

 Implementation2014-2020 BudgetImplementation rate
Commitments2 358.72 359.0100%
Payments1 762.1 75%

Performance assessment

  • The COSME programme addresses the full range of challenges that SMEs face in boosting their competitiveness. For example, the Loan Guarantee Facility not only provides financial support to numerous SMEs that have difficulties in obtaining finance. It also has a positive impact on the SMEs' assets, share of intangible assets, sales and employment rates, and even reduces the SMEs' probability of default. This is empirically demonstrated by the econometric work carried out in various studies on the COSME predecessor activities relating to access to finance (see European Investment Fund, 'The real effects of EU loan guarantee schemes for SMEs: A pan-European assessment', EIF Research and Markey Analysis – Working Paper, 2019/56, June 2019).
  • Specific projects showed continued success and growth, although some adjustments were necessary in 2020. The Erasmus for young entrepreneurs mobility scheme (active since 2009 as a pilot action and continued under COSME) demonstrates the need for entrepreneurial exchange whereby would-be or newly established entrepreneurs receive practical support from experienced entrepreneurs. Experienced entrepreneurs in return increase their knowledge and access to other markets and gain new ideas and techniques for their business. The programme was hit hard by COVID-19, and the number of matched entrepreneurs dropped significantly in 2020 (1 684 entrepreneurs were matched compared to 2 672 in 2019). Performance in 2021 was still affected by COVID-19 health measures. Measures to react to the situation were put in place, starting with the possibility to engage in remote exchanges. Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, the programme has maintained its wide geographical reach, implemented by a network of over 180 local intermediary organisations in 37 out of 39 participating countries, including Kosovo (1) and Martinique (an EU outermost region).
  • Around 263 898 SMEs received advisory services from the Enterprise Europe Network between 2015 and 2020. Specific actions initiated in 2020 to help SMEs overcome the COVID-19 crisis were continued and consolidated in 2021, in particular virtual brokerage events to help SMEs find alternative business partners, advice on access to finance and single market advisory services. According to a survey by the Enterprise Europe Network, about 74% of responding companies were strongly or moderately affected by the crisis, forcing them to deal with supply chain disruptions, employee absences and temporary shutdowns (among other issues). The most obvious reasons were delays due to transport and logistics problems, border closings and national lockdown measures.
  • COSME financial instruments: by September 2021, the Loan Guarantee Facility had enabled more than 790 000 SMEs to receive more than EUR 49 billion in financial support over the 2014-2021 period. In reaction to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, EUR 714 million from the European Fund for Strategic Investments was redirected to the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility to allow the European Investment Fund to incentivise banks to provide liquidity to SMEs affected by the crisis. More flexibility was given to users of the facility, and the guarantee rate was increased from 50 to 80%. The latest data available (September 2021) indicate that this helped more than 100 000 European SMEs to access more than EUR 9 billion in liquidity finance under the COSME COVID-19 measure within the Loan Guarantee Facility.
  • By September 2021, the funds supported by the Equity Facility for Growth had invested more than EUR 2.7 billion in more than 400 companies. Of this amount, more than EUR 1.9 billion was invested in more than 240 SMEs in their growth and expansion stage. The latter two indicators (EUR 1.9 billion and 240 SMEs) were below the long-term targets initially envisaged for 2020.
  • The programme evaluation referred to fragmentation issues, which are meanwhile being addressed (see below).. It also pointed to a lack of centralised data about implementation, in relation to monitoring and noted that indicators are mostly based on outputs rather than on long-term effects. Efforts are still needed to centralise the data that is currently dispersed between the coordinating team, the units managing individual actions and the delegated entities. The evaluation also mentioned that the programme delivers in terms of jobs and growth creation, but does not directly address global and societal challenges. The programme is coherent and works without big overlaps with other EU programmes and national/regional SME support schemes, however there is scope for synergies to be improved, mainly at the national and regional levels. Meanwhile, since the adoption of the SME strategy, sustainability has become a more visible priority of the programme and other societal concerns are also addressed in social economy actions and the 100 intelligent cities challenge.
  • This fragmentation into smaller actions was gradually addressed over the last 2 years of the COSME work programme, by reinforcing larger actions where appropriate and reducing the number of smaller supporting actions. Under the Single Market Programme, the most impactful actions have been reinforced. However, the new programme should maintain the same ability to launch smaller pilot actions to adapt to the changing landscape of SMEs, as the COSME programme had.

(1) This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.


MFF 2014-2020 – European Statistical programme

The European statistical programme provides funding to national statistical institutes for the development, production and dissemination of high-quality statistics to monitor the economic, social, environmental and territorial situation, thereby providing for evidence-based-decision making in the EU and measuring the impact of EU initiatives.



Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):

  Implementation 2014-2020 Budget Implementation rate
Commitments 446.7 449.1 99%
Payments 391.3   87%

Performance assessment

  • The implementation of the European statistical programme progressed well, producing significant results under the programme's various objectives.
  • The general objective of the programme was for the European Statistical System to be the leading provider of high-quality statistics on Europe. Its performance indicator, measuring Eurostat's impact on the internet, shows that the programme has generally performed well. The number of times that Eurostat is mentioned on the internet is on target. The percentage of negative opinions is extremely low, showing trust in and satisfaction with the data produced.
  • The second performance indicator, statistical coverage, measures the relevance of the statistics published by Eurostat. It shows how the quantity and variety of data published by Eurostat evolve and are measured as the number of different statistics published on the Eurostat website increases. The statistical coverage shows an increase of 39 million users (9%) compared to last year. This demonstrates that Eurostat has enlarged its statistics offer to meet new user needs and that demands for new statistics are being satisfied, thanks in part to improvements in the production process, as the amount of available resources is not increasing.


MFF 2014-2020 – Reporting and Auditing

The financial reporting and auditing standards programme provides financial support for the development of international financial reporting and auditing standards. Such international standards underpin the EU's own legal framework on financial reporting (accounting and auditing) and are an essential element of the legislation regulating EU capital markets and the strengthening of the capital markets union.



Performance assessment

  • EU support strengthened the legitimacy of the three beneficiaries (the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group and the Public Interest Oversight Board) to serve the European public interest by developing and promoting European views in the field of financial reporting and auditing and ensuring these views are properly considered in the standard-setting processes of the International Accounting Standards Board and the International Federation of Accountants. In terms of achievements, the funding programme enabled the three beneficiaries to develop standards that enhance the transparency and comparability of financial information about financial instruments, revenue recognition and lease contracts.
  • The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group has also widened the scope of its work in recent years, and has established a European Corporate Reporting Laboratory. The laboratory became operational in February 2019, when its task force on climate-related reporting started its work (the relevant report was published in February 2020). A second project on the reporting of non-financial risks and opportunities and linkage to the business model started in September 2020.
  • The Public Interest Oversight Board continued to carry out its oversight function of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board and the International Ethics Standards Boards for Accountants.
  • Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the work of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group and the Public Interest Oversight Board in several ways. The three entities not only adapted by changing the way they worked (crisis meetings were conducted as online meetings; outreach sessions were cancelled, postponed or turned into webinars) but also extended deadlines to recognise stakeholders' circumstances and to allow them to provide input and, where applicable, seek input from their constituents. The International Accounting Standards Board supported stakeholders with various COVID-19-related amendments that provide targeted accounting relief and by adjusting its work plan, including postponing less-critical consultations. One example of this is the amendment of international financial reporting standard 16 to facilitate the accounting by entities for COVID-19-related lease concessions, such as rental holidays and temporary rent reductions. On the other hand, the board prioritised time-sensitive projects such as those relating to reform of the interbank offered rate and international financial reporting standard 17.


MFF 2014-2020 – Enhancing Consumer Involvement in EU Policymaking in the field of Financial Services

The programme for enhancing consumer involvement in EU policymaking in the field of financial services provides financial support to increase the participation of consumers, other end users of financial services and civil society in financial services policymaking and to promote better understanding of the financial sector.



Performance assessment

  • Since the launch of the programme in 2017, the two beneficiaries (Better Finance and Finance Watch) have been successfully working towards the achievement of the programme's objectives. They have further developed the knowledge and expertise needed to participate in EU and other relevant multilateral forms of policymaking in the area of financial services.
  • In parallel, the two organisations have built up a network and implemented a number of dissemination activities that have enabled them to inform consumers and other end users of financial services, along with stakeholders representing their interests, about issues at stake in the regulation of the financial sector.
  • Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the beneficiaries' physical participation (including as speakers) in a number of events, as many have been cancelled or postponed. Instead, the organisations organised a total of 13 virtual events, provided speakers to 66 online conferences and webinars and attended another 105 online events. This ensured that the voice of financial services users was heard.


MFF 2014-2020 – Food and Feed

The food and feed programme aims to prevent, control and eradicate animal diseases and plant pests, support sustainable food production and consumption and improve animal welfare and the effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of official controls.



Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):

 Implementation2014-2020 BudgetImplementation rate
Commitments1 827.21 827.3100%
Payments1 539.8 84%

 Performance assessment


  • Among the important achievements in the area of food and feed (a high level of health for humans, animals and plants), it is worth noting the dramatic reduction of both food-borne salmonellosis in humans and classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease, which has almost disappeared). Lumpy skin disease, an emerging disease of cattle, has also been controlled effectively, with no outbreaks in south-eastern Europe since 2017.
  • In 2014-2020, the European Court of Auditors published several reports assessing the implementation of the food and feed programme. In Chemical Hazards in Our Food – Special report 02/2019, the Court emphasised that the EU's food safety model in respect of chemicals is considered a point of reference, and that it is soundly based and respected. On 26 April 2016, the Court published Dealing with serious cross-border threats to health in the EU – Special report 28/2016 on a performance audit on animal disease eradication programmes, and drew positive conclusions on DG Health and Food Safety's management of the programmes. All of the Court's recommendations referred to actions that were already ongoing, and all of them have already been finalised.
  • In 2021, the Court of Auditors carried out a follow-up review of its report Animal Welfare in the EU – Special report 31/2018. Based on the preliminary findings presented in the clearing letter (CL-13193) received on 12 January 2022, three recommendations were implemented in a timely manner by DG Health and Food Safety and two recommendations face a delay in implementation due to the decision to launch a fitness check in 2020, which is relevant for the revision of EU animal welfare legislation (!drdwmd).
  • The food and feed programme has contributed to the improvement of animal welfare through its financial support for courses on better training for safer food in this area in several countries. This has led to improvements in this sector, as stated by the Court of Auditors, which emphasised in Animal Welfare in the EU – Special report 31/2018 that EU action on animal welfare has improved compliance with the EU's requirements and has supported higher standards, with a clear positive impact on animal welfare.
  • In 2019, the Internal Audit Service requested that DG Health and Food Safety further improve and simplify the financial management of the veterinary and phytosanitary programmes. In the light of this process, DG Health and Food Safety signed an administrative arrangement with the Joint Research Centre of the Commission to develop new methodologies for the calculation of unit costs in both areas. The work has suffered slight delays because of the COVID-19 situation, but the final report on the review of the methodology for unit costs in the veterinary area was submitted by the Joint Research Centre to DG Health and Food Safety in March 2021. At the same time, the report for phase 1 concerning a new methodology for the calculation of unit costs for sampling activities in the phytosanitary area (where no such approach existed) was also submitted by the Joint Research Centre. DG Health and Food Safety intends to apply both methodologies in the near future.
  • The Commission acknowledges the existence of backlogs, especially in the area of regulated food ingredients, and is working to enhance its procedures for the monitoring and enforcement of all food and health legislation, which will cover the follow-up to recommendations arising from Commission audits.
  • Currently, the final ex post evaluation of Regulation (EU) No 652/2014 is ongoing, following the legal obligation under the EU's financial rules (Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046) on performing retrospective evaluations of programmes and activities that entail significant spending in order to assess the performance of the programme or activity.


MFF 2014-2020 – Consumer programme

The consumer programme promotes the interests of consumers and ensures a high level of product safety and consumer protection by empowering and assisting consumers, ensuring access to efficient redress mechanisms, supporting enforcement authorities and consumer organisations, enhancing the participation of consumers and other end users of financial services in financial services policymaking and promoting better understanding of the financial sector and the different forms of commercialised financial products.



Cumulative implementation rate at the end of 2021 (million EUR):

  Implementation 2014-2020 Budget Implementation rate
Commitments 187.8 188.4 100%
Payments 161.9   86%

Performance assessment

  • The implementation of the consumer programme progressed well, producing significant results under the programme's various specific objectives.
  • Cooperation between national authorities through Safety Gate has significantly increased over time since the system's creation in 2003. The ratio of the number of reactions to the number of serious risk notifications increased from 0.90 in 2013 to 1.99 in 2021 (these very good statistics can be explained by the fact that a notification can trigger several reactions from authorities of other Member States). The number of notifications has now stabilised at the regular rate of around 2 000 per year.
  • Manual checks on such products in online shops are time consuming, costly and not effective enough. This raised the need for a powerful information technology tool (the eSurveillance webcrawler) to be developed to monitor whether web shops or any other online marketplaces sell dangerous products, and to do this using a coherent, unique and cost-efficient approach. The project is in the pilot phase, and its launch is expected in the first quarter of 2022. Currently, 340 users from 22 Member States are testing the application. After the first 2 months of the pilot phase the results are very promising, and show a very high level of accuracy (more than 90% of confirmed dangerous products have been found by the application).
  • The consumer programme allocated EUR 1 million to support the operational capacities of the national consumer protection cooperation authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. In 2021, intense work took place to fight the continuous impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumers and to ensure that national authorities are well equipped to carry out coordinated activities for the benefit of European consumers. The modern information technology system, which came into operation in 2020, enabled rapid exchanges between consumer protection cooperation authorities and the Commission on potentially unfair and harmful market trends affecting consumers across Europe.
  • The consumer programme also contributes to raising awareness of EU consumer law, including by SMEs through a dedicated training project, 'Consumer law ready'. The courses (including online courses) were developed taking duly into account the various forms of national consumer legislation, and were made available in all the national languages. In light of the difficulties in holding classroom training sessions, online activities in the project were reinforced. The project saw around 1 200 SMEs and local trainers participating in 2021, and 51 training sessions were held by leading trainers from each Member State.

Programme statement

7 JUNE 2022
Programme Statement – Single Market Programme
(1.63 MB - PDF)