Aim of the Services Directive
With the Services Directives, administrative barriers for trade in services should be removed in order to enable unused potential of the services market in Europe.
It should become easier and transparent for consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses to offer or receive services in the EU Single Market.
Advantages for companies
According to the Directive, Member States have to simplify their procedures and formalities for service providers. Additionally they have to remove all disproportionate and unjustified obligations and simplify the following points significantly:
- the establishment of companies, e.g. when a natural or legal person wants to establish a permanent business in a Member State, and
- the cross-border provision of services, e.g. a company wants to offer services in another Member State without establishing an office there.
According to the Directive, the Member States have to install "points of single contact" where service providers can get all necessary information and complete all procedures and formalities. These "points of single contact" need to be accessible at a distance and by electronic means.
Advantages for consumers
The Services Directive also strengthens the rights of recipients of services (consumers as well as companies). For example: The Directive forbids discriminating conditions based on nationality or residency of the recipient.
Furthermore, the Directive states measures to encourage high quality of services as well as information and transparency regarding service providers and their services.
Teamwork of Member States
Last but not least, the Member States are obliged to work together according to the Services Directive in order to effectively monitor service providers and their services.
When will the Services Directive be implemented?
The Services Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 12.12.2006. The Member States have to fully implement into their national systems on 28.12.2009 the latest.
Information requests of consumers
To avoid potential barriers in accessing cross-border services, consumers can get information about service providers in other Member States beforehand:
- general information about conditions regarding access and exercise of service activities in other Member States, especially about consumer protection;
- general information about judicial remedies in case of disputes between the provider and the recipient of services;
- information about the accessibility of organisations that advise and support service providers and recipients.
German version of this article: © European Communities, 1995-2009