Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission
As it has been already pointed out in the answers to Written Questions E‑5588/09, E‑3090/10, E‑3629/10 and E‑4502/11(1), Article 12 of Directive 2006/123/EC (the ‘Services Directive’)(2) applies to authorisations limited in their number because of the scarcity of available resources or technical capacity, as in the case of ‘beach concessions’ in Italy. Member States are required to apply a selection procedure that guarantees the transparency and the equal treatment of potential candidates. Authorisations may be granted for an appropriate limited period and may not be open to automatic renewal. In those procedures, Member States can take account, inter alia, of criteria justified by reasons such as the protection of the environment and the preservation of cultural heritage, provided that these criteria are applied in conformity with the general principles of non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality.
Subject to those principles, the Services Directive leaves Member States free to regulate beach concessions as they wish, including on the issue of property ownership. In doing so, they can take into consideration the factors mentioned by the Honourable Member.
There is therefore no need to exclude beach concessions from the application of the Services Directive. The introduction of more transparency is expected to be beneficial for jobs, growth and higher quality of services.