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Brussels, 30 June 2010

Services Directive: Commission consults interested stakeholders in the context of the Directive's implementation process

The transposition deadline for the Services Directive was the end of December 2009. Since January this year, all EU Member States have engaged, together with the European Commission, in a peer review process of mutually evaluating certain aspects of their national legal frameworks applicable to service providers. This innovative working method, known as the “mutual evaluation process” was foreseen in the Directive. It is in the context of this process that the European Commission is inviting interested parties to share their views on those aspects of national legislation which are being discussed by Member States in the "mutual evaluation process". The consultation is open until 13 September 2010.

The services sector is the main engine of the EU economy, representing around 75% of EU GDP and 70% of total employment. But it is also one of the EU's major untapped sources of additional growth and job creation, as numerous barriers to trade in services remain in the single market. The Services Directive aims to improve the functioning of the Single Market for services through an ambitious programme of administrative and regulatory reform aimed at unleashing the potential of this sector. The Directive commits EU countries to remove unjustified or disproportionate legal and administrative barriers to the setting-up of a business or the provision of cross-border services in the EU. It applies to a broad range of service activities and requirements, including retail, construction, tourism and most regulated professions (such as architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants or surveyors).

During the three-year implementation period of the Directive, all Member States engaged in a thorough analysis of their laws and regulations to ensure their compatibility with the provisions of the Services Directive. This review implied an assessment of the rationale and proportionality of existing rules and, when necessary, their modification or abolition. Implementing the Services Directive has proved to be a particularly challenging endeavour for Member States as it concerns a wide array of laws and regulations that can be found at all administrative levels.

Since the beginning of 2010, Member States have engaged, together with the European Commission, in a process of mutually evaluating a number of the reviewed national measures. This innovative working method is known as the “mutual evaluation process”.

As part of the "mutual evaluation process", the Commission is now inviting interested stakeholders to share their analysis and comments on the national measures which continue to impose certain types of requirements either on the establishment of service providers or on the cross-border provision of their services. The Commission will report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the results of the "mutual evaluation process" and of this consultation to interested parties by the end of this year.

A consultation paper and the questionnaire are available at:

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