Services Package: mandatory notification should help prevent Single Market barriers
Retailers today welcomed the Commission publication of the long-awaited EU Services Package. An important element of the package is the review of the notification procedure under the Services Directive for national rules. The sector sees this as a major step in improving the Single Market for services and tackling national legislation which would be incompatible with EU law.
Better application of the Services Directive is of utmost importance. The Commission estimates that more ambitious implementation of the Services Directive would add 1.8 % to EU GDP. In particular it will help reinforce the competitiveness of the retail sector, with wider choice and lower prices for consumers.
Member States have approached authorisation procedures for setting up shop in so many very different ways that it is impossible to operate in a similar fashion in different Member States or even regions within a Member State (Commission study 2014). An objective, transparent and non-discriminatory approach should form the basis of all authorisation procedures. Any measure should be justified, necessary and proportionate, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity. Numerous national laws do not respect the freedom of establishment or the freedom to provide a service and are difficult to challenge.
Christian Verschueren, EuroCommerce Director-General, said:
"The EU needs to be able to better prevent Single Market barriers from being erected, rather than resolving infringements post hoc. A mandatory framework requiring notification of draft laws, public and transparent, with a consultation period of 3 months for the Commission to assess the draft law, should make a fundamental difference to the Single Market. As is already the case with rules on goods, laws that have not been notified should be rendered null and void. ”
At present, the majority of Member States do not notify (draft) national laws within the scope of the Services Directive to the Commission. Even those that do notify usually do not do so before the law is adopted. Issues arising from these rules can then only be resolved post hoc through lengthy infringement procedures. We hope that a new requirement to notify will allow the Commission to request from a Member State to refrain from adopting rules incompatible with the Services Directive and make implementation and application of the Directive significantly more effective.