Fabian Demicoli

EP Report on the implementation of the Services Directive

On 15th February, the European Parliament' adopted the IMCO Committee report by Ms Gebhardt on the implementation of the services directive. Amongst the points made:

 

Lack of information and unnecessary administrative burdens are still seriously hindering cross-border trade in services. The report outlines concrete proposals for Member States to improve the implementation of the Services Directive.

MEPs point to the need to ensure easy access to information for businesses and to step up administrative cooperation, as areas where Member States can improve the directive's implementation.

The functioning of the Points of Single Contact (PSC) set up under the directive must be improved. It was suggested that PSCs be turned into comprehensive e-Government portals, allowing procedures and formalities to be completed remotely, by electronic means and providing relevant information to service providers, including information on labour and tax law as well as procedures related to VAT and social security registration.

All information given by the PSCs should also be available in languages other than the national language. In particular, the PSCs should take into consideration the languages of neighbouring countries.

MEPs regret that the PSCs and cross-border provision of service opportunities are not yet widely known by service providers and call on the Commission and Member States to launch information and training campaigns as soon as possible and to improve the visibility and recognisability of the "eu-go" domain which brings together all PSC websites.

Better training for administrative cooperation: the report urges Member States to improve training of civil servants aiming to step up administrative cooperation and facilitate cross-border provision of services. It also underlines the beneficial impact of the internal market information system (an electronic tool for cooperation between national and regional administrations).

Scope of the directive: MEPs noted the discussion in some Member States on services excluded from the scope of the Directive because of their specific nature (such as the health services or transport) and suggested that these services may require a specific framework which could be included in forthcoming work on the Single Market Act.

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