Europe was always more than just a common market. Nevertheless, the story of its success is closely linked to the single European market. The abolition of customs duties and other obstacles between the member states has led to an almost unprecedented trade of goods and services – for the mutual benefit of all countries involved. On average, the EU countries deliver two thirds of their exports to an EU partner country. This benefits producers and consumers alike. Free trade within Europe protects producers from protectionism in other parts of the world, and heightened competition means consumers have more choice at lower prices.
As an export-oriented industry, the German mechanical engineering industry benefits from the single European market more than almost any other: 44.8% of all German mechanical engineering exports go to the other EU countries (2015). And without Europe, German industry would no longer function: Six out of ten complete machines, systems or components imported to Germany come from other member states. In addition, global exports are supported by numerous trade agreements that the European Union has concluded for its members.
Number of people living in the EU:
approx. 510 million