European Commission adopts Services Package

On 8 June the European Commission published a “Services Package” which is a major action programme setting out what actions the Commission is proposing to take to stimulate growth in the services sector. It consists of a communication entitled “A partnership for new growth in services” which concerns the implementation of the Services Directive and the liberalisation of services. CEPI closely monitors and reports on this important initiative and its challenges for the RE sector.

This communication is accompanied by three detailed staff working documents which report variously on the state of implementation of the Services Directive and remaining problems, the results of the performance check carried out by the Commission to show how well EU rules are applied on a day-to-day basis, and establishing guidelines on the application of Article 20(2) of the Services Directive (which refers to the principle of non-discrimination of service recipients on the basis of nationality or country of residence).

What do they want to do?

They want to maximise the economic effects of the Services Directive. In simple terms this means abolishing remaining restrictions relating to professional services which cannot be justified and present an obstacle to economic growth. The Commission will focus its efforts on those service sectors with significant economic weight and above average growth potential: business services, construction, tourism and retail.

Why do they want to do this?

For greater economic gain – the abolition of restrictions promotes growth in the service sector which is important for the EU economy.

How will they achieve it?

They aim to achieve this by ensuring the full implementation of the existing Services Directive including the elimination of remaining discriminatory requirements. The Services Directive prohibits a number of discriminatory requirements but not all have been eliminated. In some areas Member States are allowed discretion as to the implementation of the Directive and there are many variations.

This does not mean modifying the Directive, rather making sure that its full potential is realised. The Commission will apply a “zero tolerance” policy in the case of non-compliance by Member States. 

Member organizations can access the full document under the CEPI Extranet or by contacting the secretariat.