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Services Directive

The proposal for a “Directive on services in the internal market”, better known as the Services Directive, is a new step in the progressive building of a “Single Market” in services. So far, the efforts to create such a Single Market have only led to very limited results. Except when new technologies have been powerful enough to generate more competition between European services providers, such as in certain telecoms or financial services, national incumbents have been unchallenged and European consumers have not witnessed noticeables price decreases.

The Services Directive is fundamentally an “anti-discrimination” directive. Based on the existing rulings of the European Court of Justice—hence on the existing Treaties—it aims to facilitate establishment and cross-border trade in services by simplifying national administrative procedures and by eliminating the most blatant discriminatory aspects of the remaining national regulations. It does not modify the existing Directives on labor movement within the EU, on professional skills, on other services (such as air or road transport or telecoms) etc., nor the national laws on public health, environmental protection, public order, etc. Its dominant “anti-discrimination” feature makes the Directive a particularly interesting topic from an economic perspective emphasising on the analysis of the costs and benefits of regulatory reforms.


Patrick Messerlin’s "Problems of transposition and Members States “screening” process and timetable" at the Parliamentary Hearing on the Services Directive

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