m on June 16-17 that it says should be adopted by the time the single currency is created by the end of the decade. Its plan aims to remove remaining barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and people across national borders - seen as essential if the EU is to catch up with economic rivals the United States and Japan. The Commission launched the single market programme in 1985. To keep up the pressure, the EU set a December 31, 1992 deadline for completing it - and almost made it. By that date around 260 of the original list of 282 legislative measures had been agreed, made possible by new EU rules allowing for more decisions to be taken by majority vote so that no country could veto single market decisions. However, some of the most controversial and complicated issues were left unresolved. The action plan for future would involve mainly four areas - services, taxation, and simplification and enforcement of EU rules. Monetary union itself is seen as key to strengthening the internal market by removing currency-related obstacles to trade. The EU`s unemployment rate is 11 percent, compared with the U.S. rate of 5.4 percent, while its gross domestic product per capita is nearly one third below that of the United States, reflecting lower labour productivity. The action plan will focus on the need to apply and enforce existing single market rules, for example those affecting government contracts, which account for 11.5 percent of the EU`s GDP. But some existing single market proposals still await adoption by the EU. A proposal to allow companies to set up as a European rather than as a national firm, for example, has been blocked for years by a dispute over rules on worker participation. Some evidence shows the single market, while incomplete, has helped to create jobs, boost incomes and lower inflation. According to a survey published by the European Commission last year, the single market has resulted in up to 900,000 more jobs, an extra increase in EU income of 1.1-1.5 percent, and a lowering of inflation rates of 1.0-1.5 percent. However, this falls short of the confident predictions. The gap between prediction and reality is to some extent explained by the deep European re- cession in the early 1990s. But it could also reflect the gaps in the single market. The Commission has lately gone out of its way to publicise legal action it has taken against member states that have dragged their feet, and last month proposed fines against recalcitrant governments for the first time.