Enrico Letta: “Much More than a Market” – Report on the Single Market

On April 17, 2024, Enrico Letta published a report titled “Much More than a Market,” advocating for significant reforms to empower the EU Single Market. The report proposes key changes to enhance digital integration and trade fairness, emphasizing the Single Market’s potential to drive sustainable future and prosperity for all EU citizens.

Authorized by the European Union, Enrico Letta, the former Italian Prime Minister and current President of the Jacques Delors Institute, prepared the report to reshape the future of the EU Single Market. Letta stresses that while the Single Market remains a cornerstone of European integration and values, shifting global dynamics require a new strategic vision.

The report highlights the Single Market’s crucial role in economic growth, prosperity, and solidarity within the EU, yet points out that global tensions and complexities necessitate a strategic overhaul and fresh adaptations. The focus is on establishing a more unified market in finance, energy, and electronic communications.

In our view, the most important for the development of the European Union is Letta proposal to create a new fifth freedom – the Freedom of Movement of Knowledge, with a focus on research, innovation and education, which are essential to strengthen the single market in order to ensure a sustainable future and prosperity for all EU citizens. This new freedom aims to harness the collective intelligence across Europe, which Letta describes as crucial for the future competitiveness and progress of the EU. In his report he suggests that the realization of this fifth freedom would require a legal and regulatory changes alongside practical measures like funding and infrastructure development. His argumentation for this freedom is built on the recognition that key resources for future competitiveness and progress are the data, knowledge and skills that exist across the continent, not least in research organisations.

In relation to the introduction of a fifth freedom as proposed by Letta, Knowledge Rights 21 has also made recommendations that would make the fifth freedom – the Freedom of Movement of Knowledge – a reality.

The KR21 recommendations are as follows:

  1. Modernise laws that govern knowledge flows: Introduce copyright exceptions to allow research and education without the current restrictions between commercial and non-commercial activities.
  2. Support technological innovation in Europe and facilitate cross-border partnerships with an open and flexible approach to copyright: Introducing more open approaches to copyright law, allowing greater freedom for R&D&I.
  3. Introduce a right of access to knowledge: Enabling free access to digital resources for research organisations and educational institutions.
  4. Ensure by law that publicly funded research is made freely available immediately: All publicly funded research should be freely accessible.

You can read the full report and analysis here.