Draft rules aimed at introducing a European services e-card applicable to the cross-border provision of construction and business services were rejected by the Internal Market Committee.

The committee rejected the Commission’s proposals by 21 votes to 14, with two abstentions, thus expressing its deep dissatisfaction with them. However it didn’t go as far as proposing the rejection to plenary by adopting a report.

 

MEPs thus keep open the option of either starting anew at a later stage or waiting for the position of the Council of the EU (Member States) before deciding on any concrete follow-up, i.e. adopting a new report for the rejection of the current proposals or seeking a compromise to amend them.

 

The Council has not yet agreed its position on these proposals.

 

Background

 

The European services e-card proposals, presented by the Commission on 10 January 2017, aim at reducing administrative complexity for service providers that want to expand their activities to other Member States, either on a temporary/occasional basis, or via secondary establishment.

 

According to the Commission’s proposals, the service providers would liaise with a single authority in their home Member State in their own language, which would verify the necessary data and transmit it to the host Member State. In case of temporary/occasional provision of services, the host Member State could object to issuance of the services e-card within a certain deadline, and in case of secondary establishment it could reject the application, on the grounds stated in the Services Directive.

 

During the discussions in the committee, MEPs from some political groups questioned the added value of the proposals and argued that more could be achieved with a better implementation of the Services Directive. They also expressed concerns that these proposals would introduce the country of origin principle* and could lead to social dumping. Other political groups said that the Commission’s proposals could be improved and tabled amendments aiming to address and clarify several issues, including on the concerns that were raised on the country of origin principle.

 

*In the context of the Services Directive, the country of origin principle means that a company offering its services in another member state would operate according to the rules and regulations of its home country.