REPORT on implementation of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC

    28.1.2011 - (2010/2053(INI))

    Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
    Rapporteur: Evelyne Gebhardt


    Procedure : 2010/2053(INI)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    A7-0012/2011

    MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

    on implementation of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC

    (2010/2053(INI))

    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty on the European Union,

    –   having regard to Articles 9, 49 and 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

    –   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

    –   having regard to Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market[1],

    –   having regard to the Commission’s information note of 18 May 2010 for the meeting of the Competitiveness Council, on the state of implementation of the Services Directive,

    –   having regard to the Commission Communication ‘Towards a Single Market Act’ (COM(2010)0608),

    –   having regard to the report to the President of the Commission entitled 'A new strategy for the single market',

    –   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on delivering a single market for consumers and citizens[2],

    –   having regard to Rule 48 and Rule 119(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    –   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Regional Development (A7‑0012/2010),

    A. whereas the Services Directive aims to complete the internal market for services while safeguarding a high level of quality and social cohesion,

    B.  whereas the Services Directive is an instrument for the growth of the European Union and whereas its implementation should come within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy and the Single Market Act,

    C. whereas freedom to provide services is enshrined in the Treaties,

    D. whereas transposition of the Services Directive is a major challenge for the Member States, public administrations and local authorities in view of its provisions on the right of establishment and freedom to provide services, and of the establishment of ‘points of single contact’ to provide assistance to service providers, in particular SMEs,

    E.  whereas the Directive's impact on the economy, businesses and citizens cannot be evaluated until it has been fully and properly transposed in all of the EU Member States,

    F.  whereas the quality of implementation of the Directive by the Member States is just as vital as compliance with the deadlines for implementing it,

    G. whereas the Services Directive makes it significantly easier for self-employed persons and small and medium-sized companies in particular to pursue their activities, develop new areas of business and also recruit new staff in other Member States,

    H. whereas activities covered by the Services Directive account for 40% of EU GDP and jobs and are therefore a crucial sector for economic growth and in the fight against unemployment; whereas the objective of the Services Directive is to unlock the enormous economic and job-creation potential of the European internal market in services, estimated at 0.6-1.5% of EU GDP; whereas, further, the Services Directive aims to achieve objectives listed in Article 3 TFEU,

    I.   whereas a more dynamic and labour-intensive service sector could help sustain growth,

    1.  Draws attention to the unprecedented public and political debate on the Services Directive and the key role of the European Parliament in that negotiation; therefore considers that Parliament should provide effective monitoring of the process of implementation of the Directive by the Member States; asks the Commission to regularly inform Parliament of the state of transposition;

    2.  Emphasises that the Services Directive is an essential step towards a true single market for services, which should enable enterprises, and SMEs in particular, to provide citizens with better services at a competitive price throughout the internal market; considers, however, that after full transposition it is crucial that a comprehensive assessment should be carried out of the impact of the Services Directive;

    3.  Welcomes the fact that implementation of the Services Directive is creating unprecedented momentum for modernisation throughout the Member States in the form of new methods of working and evaluation; underlines the key role of the social partners and professional organisations in the transposition process; asks the Commission to fully involve the latter in the mutual evaluation phase;

    4.  Notes that most of the Member States have favoured transposition through ‘horizontal’ legislation; observes, however, that the method of transposition depends on the specific nature of the internal organisation of Member States; calls, accordingly, on the Member States concerned to ensure greater transparency, particularly by improving the involvement of the national parliaments in the production of correlation tables;

    5.  Recalls that the implementation of the Services Directive must not be viewed by most Member States simply as a matter of processing, whereby rules and special provisions will be abolished mechanically and horizontally, but rather as an opportunity to update and simplify legislation and substantively to restructure the services economy, taking into account the objectives of safeguarding the public interest, as also set out in the Directive itself;

    6.  Considers that for service providers to properly enjoy the benefits of the Services Directive, its full and timely implementation, both legal and operational, should be ensured in all Member States;

    7.  Invites the Commission to closely monitor the application of the Directive in all Member States and to issue regular implementation reports; considers that these reports should take into account the real medium- and long-term effects of the Directive on employment in the EU;

    8.  Hopes that the Services Directive will genuinely have a positive impact by creating decent, sustainable, quality jobs and improving the quality and safety of services provided;

    9. Acknowledges the potential of the Services Directive for the further integration of the EU economy and the re-launch of the single market, by fostering economic prosperity and competitiveness and contributing to employment and job creation, as services account for a significant share of GDP and employment in the EU; takes the view that the correct and speedy implementation of the Directive in all Member States is an important condition for the attainment of the objectives of cohesion and regional policy and that it can enhance the mutually reinforcing relationship between the internal market and cohesion policy and contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy, while serving to eliminate existing single market fatigue in the services sector;

    10. Hopes that the aims of the Directive may start to be achieved in the near future and that the whole of the EU and its regions may benefit, thus contributing to real economic, social and territorial cohesion;

    11. Calls on the Commission to monitor effectively, and assess from the outset, the impact of the Directive on the regions, and to ensure effective coordination of all policies connected with the implementation of the Directive; calls on the Commission to support an information campaign for local and regional authorities concerning the implementation of the Directive, so as to facilitate the achievement of its objectives;

    12. Expects that the Directive may in fact bring about a reduction in administrative burdens and cases of legal uncertainty, especially those affecting SMEs, which predominate in the field of services; considers that the reduction of administrative burdens will also facilitate the development of additional services in rural, remote and outermost areas;

    13. Advocates the implementation of national strategies to support innovative SMEs, which are most affected by the consequences of the economic and financial crisis;

    Evaluation process

    14. Considers that the process of screening national legislation governing freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services is a pillar of the Directive; notes that the process must allow for the modernisation of authorisation schemes and requirements on freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, in order to facilitate the cross-border provision of services;

    15. Believes that mutual evaluation significantly contributes to the quality and effectiveness of internal market regulation, since the systematic evaluation and associated monitoring of transposition prompt national authorities to address the issue of EU requirements and their domestic transposition;

    16. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to work together in order to further promote the development of the internal market for services on the basis of the mutual evaluation process that is provided for in the Services Directive and that is currently being transposed by the Member States;

    17. Points out that the Member States can maintain their authorisation schemes and certain requirements only in cases where these are clearly necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory; emphasises that in this connection the Member States have maintained a number of authorisation schemes by making them more accessible and more transparent to service providers; regrets that some Member States have not been more ambitious and have not fully used the potential of the Services Directive in terms of administrative and regulatory simplification;

    18. Underlines the difficulties encountered with recognising professional qualifications, in particular in the medical sector; points out that the Services Directive cannot apply to provisions already covered by the sectoral directives; asks the Commission to clarify this situation as part of a review of the Directive on professional qualifications;

    19. Draws attention to the specific nature of the provisions on the right of establishment and those on the temporary provision of services in another Member State; asks the Commission to take full account of that specific nature in its evaluation;

    20. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to put an end to unjustified discrimination against consumers on the grounds of nationality or residence by ensuring the effective implementation of Article 20(2) of the Services Directive, as well as the proper enforcement by national authorities and courts of the national provisions implementing this non-discrimination rule in the legal systems of Member States; recalls that Article 20(2) is not intended to prevent differences in treatment in general conditions based on objective considerations, such as distance involved or the higher costs caused by the provision of the service to recipients in other Member States;

    21. Emphasises that the screening process undertaken within the context of the Directive involves a substantial amount of work for the national administrations and the workload must be taken into account when evaluating transposition;

    22. Notes the Member States’ efforts to implement the mutual evaluation process; considers that the evaluation process is an important tool in determining how implementation of the Directive is progressing in Member States; considers that the state of progress with the process does not yet allow its effectiveness to be evaluated; stresses that the process in question must examine whether the rules in force in Member States correspond to the specifications of the internal market and do not create new obstacles; wishes the Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of the potential of this new method in the context of the Single Market Act;

    23. Regrets the fact that the European Parliament and national parliaments are not more involved in the mutual evaluation process;

    24. Calls on the Commission, with reference to the cross-border provision of services, to identify problem occupations and sectors and to conduct a detailed assessment of the applicable legislation and the causes of the problems;

    Points of single contact (PSCs)

    25. Considers that setting up the PSCs is an essential part of effective implementation of the Directive; recognises that the Directive requires a substantial effort by the Member States in financial, technical and organisational terms; draws attention to the need to involve social partners and business associations in this;

    26. Calls on the Member States to develop the PSCs into comprehensive eGovernment portals for service providers wanting to set up a business or provide cross-border services; calls on the Member States to continue improving the accessibility of PSCs, including by allowing procedures and formalities to be completed through PSCs remotely, by electronic means, as well as the quality and relevance of the information and procedures available to its users, in particular SMEs, including information and the completion of procedures under labour and tax law in force in the Member State that is of relevance to service providers, such as procedures related to VAT and social security registration; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that all information given by PSCs is also available in languages other than national, taking into consideration especially the languages of neighbouring countries;

    27. Calls on the Member States to enhance the availability of electronic procedures, including a translation of all relevant forms; calls on the Member States to offer tracking facilities for PSCs' users enabling them to check the progress of ongoing procedures;

    28. Recognises the problems encountered with the functioning of the PSCs related to proof of identity, use of e-signatures and submission of original documents or certified copies, especially in the cross-border context; asks the Commission to propose measures to resolve these issues in order to enable SMEs to benefit from the single market and avoid any legal and technical uncertainties;

    29. Stresses that it is particularly important with a view to user-friendliness to clarify which requirements apply to the permanent establishment of a business as opposed to the temporary cross-border provision of services;

    30. Regrets that the advice offered by PSCs does not yet reach prospective service providers and that information on how to contact PSCs is not widely known; calls on the Commission to earmark appropriate funds in its draft budget for 2012 to launch a major Europe-wide PSC promotion campaign to raise awareness of what PSCs can offer service providers; calls on the Commission and the Member States, in cooperation with all stakeholders, to launch well-targeted promotion, information and training campaigns as soon as possible; invites the Commission and the Member States to improve the visibility and recognisability of the eu-go domain and to feature case studies of businesses using the PSCs and the benefits they have derived;

    31. Believes that a dialogue and an exchange of best practices between Member States are very important if the PSCs are to improve and develop; stresses the need for urgent action in those countries in which PSCs either do not yet exist or are not operating properly; urges most Member States to redouble their efforts to allow the completion of all procedures and formalities through the PSCs;

    32. Calls on the Member States to ensure that national PSC websites make available the new information obligations which are required of service providers for the benefit of consumers;

    33. Calls on the Member States to provide the Commission on a regular basis with the comparable statistical data required to evaluate the functioning of the PSCs and their impact at national and European level, in particular as regards the provision of cross-border services; calls on the Commission to lay down clear criteria for the evaluation of the PSCs; considers that these criteria should be based on both quantitative and qualitative indicators;

    34. Notes that some Member States need to address a number of legal and technical issues in order to allow for the cross-border use of PSCs; calls on those Member States to take the necessary measures with particular attention to the recognition of electronic signatures; calls on the Commission to pursue ongoing efforts to enhance interoperability and mutual recognition of electronic procedures and take the required supportive measures to facilitate the cross-border use of the PSCs; recommends that the Commission should make a direct electronic link to the Member States’ PSCs available to service providers in all the EU official languages;

    35. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to increase efforts to ensure full electronic interoperability of the PSCs; stresses the link with proposal 22 of the Single Market Act on e-signatures, e-authentification and e-identification;

    36. Recalls that Member States have an obligation to carry out a risk assessment to ensure that businesses do not encounter excessive burdens when wishing to complete their procedures electronically; invites the Commission to assess the possibilities for businesses to use their own national means of electronic ID/authentication if they make use of the PSCs in other Member States;

    37. Considers that, in the light of the complexity of the legislation, each citizen must be able to consult the relevant authorities in order to obtain a precise reply to his/her questions; considers that the concept of advance administrative rulings should therefore be developed in the area of labour law and in the area of social security in order to combat legal uncertainty; considers, furthermore, that, in order to ensure transparency, the decisions taken should be published;

    Administrative cooperation

    38. Draws attention to the importance of the provisions on administrative cooperation and mutual assistance; considers that implementing those provisions is a condition for ensuring there is effective monitoring of service providers and a high level of quality and safety for services in the European Union;

    39. Welcomes the growing number of enrolments by the competent national authorities for monitoring of services through the internal market information system (IMI), thus permitting the direct, rapid and effective exchange of information; considers that the IMI can be used for other relevant directives;

    40. Believes that the Internal Market Information System and the points of single contact – because they demand a great effort of administrative cooperation between all the authorities involved – may pave the way for further interoperability and networking at national, regional and local level across the EU; considers that the establishment of rules and procedures regarding the operation thereof must allow for a degree of flexibility in accordance with regional diversity at EU level and that, for this purpose, any measures should be adopted in partnership and after genuine debate at local and regional level;

    41. Considers it useful to establish cooperation within a European network formed by the Member States’ public authorities and to set up an interchange of information on the reliability of service providers, with a view to eliminating additional controls applied to cross-border activities;

    42. Underlines the need to develop training schemes for the officials of national and regional administrations responsible for monitoring services; recognises the efforts Member States have already made to that effect and calls on Member States to further consolidate the national IMI networks by continuously monitoring their practical working and ensuring adequate training; recalls that the sustainable success of IMI depends on adequate investment at Community level; therefore calls on the Commission to set up a multiannual programme for that purpose and to bring to bear all the resources required for its smooth operation;

    43. Takes the view that administrative procedures must become more efficient; considers that it would be useful in this connection to establish close cooperation between the points of single contact so that they can exchange experiences in the field of cross-border services in the various regions of Europe;

    Scope

    44. Recalls that the Directive excludes a number of fields from its scope, including non-economic services of general interest, healthcare services and most social services; notes that the Directive does not apply to labour law and does not affect Member States’ social security legislation either;

    45. Notes the discussions in some Member States on the services excluded from the scope of the Directive; notes that the majority of Member States did not encounter significant problems during the implementation of the Services Directive with regard to its scope; points out that such services were excluded because of their specific nature and that, in some cases, they may require a sectoral Community legislative framework; notes that the Commission communication entitled ‘Towards a Single Market Act’ includes a commitment to bring forward, in 2011, a set of measures relating to services of general interest;

    46. Calls for proper and thorough monitoring of the application of the restrictions provided for in the Directive in respect of services of general economic interest, while respecting the division of competences with the Member States; points out that the Directive does not affect the freedom of Member States to define, in accordance with EU law, what they consider to be services of general economic interest, how those services should be organised and financed in compliance with the rules on state aid, and to what specific obligations they should be subject;

    47. Calls for greater account to be taken of the basic principle of local self-government when implementing the Directive, and for bureaucratic administrative burdens and restrictions on local-level decision-making powers with regard to services of general economic interest to be avoided insofar as possible;

    48. Considers that the additional measures needed to complete the internal market in services must be fully included in the discussion under way on the Single Market Act;

    49. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

    EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

    On 28 December 2006 the European Services Directive (2006/123/EC) took effect. Its aim is to open up the market for service providers in the European Union, phase out the Member States’ protectionist barriers on the exercise of service activities and fulfil the principle of freedom of movement, the basis for the common market: in other words, to ensure that European service providers are able to work without bureaucratic hindrance anywhere in the EU.

    It is repeatedly, though wrongly, argued that the Directive will deregulate or liberalise the services sector. This is not so. The purpose of the Directive is to influence access to the markets in such a way that arbitrary barriers are phased out and any rules that are maintained in the Member States are appropriate and non-discriminatory. It has been expressly confirmed that neither employment law nor employees’ rights are affected by the legislative project, an aspect to which Parliament has attached especial importance.

    European and national achievements have thus been preserved. The ‘country of origin’ principle, by which service providers active in other EU Member States were to be subject solely to the rules of their home country, which was criticised as paving the way for social dumping, was discarded and replaced with the ‘destination country’ principle. The Directive now allows countries to apply their own rules on employment conditions, including those that are determined by generally binding collective pay agreements.

    It should be borne in mind that the European Parliament has become the driving force for legislation and, gratifyingly, the Council has largely followed Parliament’s proposals. In particular, as regards the wording of Article 16, which clearly states that ‘the Member State to which the provider moves shall not be prevented from imposing requirements with regard to the provision of a service activity, where they are justified for reasons of public policy, public security, public health or the protection of the environment and in accordance with paragraph 1. Nor shall that Member State be prevented from applying, in accordance with Community law, its rules on employment conditions, including those laid down in collective agreements.’

    Parliament initially detected delays in the implementation of the Services Directive in the Member States and in some cases fierce debate. It accordingly decided to keep a close watching brief on the implementation process. Failings of implementation and questions of interpretation or application of the Directive have been raised. This was the reason for the present report.

    Scope

    In principle the scope of the Services Directive covers all commercial services offered by service provider established in a Member State. The services that are not covered include non-economic services of general interest, financial services, transport services, the services of temporary employment agencies, health services and those considered social services in the area of care, child care and social housing. Services of general interest are not threatened by the Directive, which cannot serve the purpose of undermining public welfare provision.

    The rapporteur emphasises that the Directive’s scope must be implemented clearly and unambiguously. For this is the only way to create legal certainty. She also points out that implementation of the Services Directive must not be used as a pretext for deregulation or privatisation in the Member States. If a government wants to carry out deregulation it should also take responsibility for its own actions.

    In the course of implementation it has become evident that many service providers are unclear whether or not the service they provide comes under the Directive. This is particularly true of Article 2(j). Here the Member States are urged to use and apply the Directive’s instruments, for instance in order to ensure that childcare provision is removed from the Directive’s scope.

    The rapporteur further points out that there is a need not only to draw a clear distinction between the services coming under this Directive and services of general interest, but also to safeguard services of general economic interest by means of framework legislation.

    Points of single contact (PSCs)

    The simplification of administrative procedures and creation of PSCs are undoubtedly major advantages for service providers. This instrument can, when properly set up, be of especial importance to small businesses.

    It should be possible to use these contact points to complete all the procedures and formalities required to take up and carry on a service activity involving crossborder provision. They should be making available precise, complete and comprehensible information on formalities, administrative procedures, the laws to be complied with, and so on. Moreover business people should receive assistance in completing the necessary administrative procedures. The procedure should as far as possible be feasible online.

    The rapporteur assumes that all the stakeholders, i.e. not only companies but also employees’ representatives, have been involved in setting up the PSCs, to ensure that all the relevant information can be provided, particularly on the employment law applicable, so that any problems that may arise can be settled as rapidly and straightforwardly as possible.

    The rapporteur does consider it inappropriate for the PSCs to be restricted solely to electronic form. Personal counselling by qualified staff should be the rule. For this reason the PSCs should be required to inform service providers of the applicable employment and social law. This is the only way to prevent service providers from claiming they are not aware of the rules and regulations of the country concerned. Moreover coordination of the individual agencies would be needed to ensure that service providers received the most up-to-date information.

    The need for such information to be accessible in several languages should also be self-explanatory.

    Administrative cooperation

    The Services Directive describes the administrative cooperation needed for a clear view of requirements in the home Member State and in the Member States where the services are provided. Here the internal market information system (IMI) can help the relevant authorities in the Member States to surmount practical barriers. The IMI is a laudable instrument as it supports the work of the administrations by dealing with differing administrative practices, language problems or inadequate information via the contact points in other Member States. The rapporteur will in future be taking a closer interest in ensuring that this system is actually used. This is an area where the Member States still seem to have some catching up to do.

    Mutual evaluation

    The rapporteur would like to repeat the point that the procedure for mutual evaluation introduced by the Council at the time is causing unnecessary bureaucratic burdens for the Member States’ administrations at national, regional and local level.

    In addition to the large number of national laws that need to be adapted to the Services Directive, the Member States have to notify the Commission of their authorisation schemes (Article 9(2)), their requirements on freedom of establishment (Article 15) and their requirements on multidisciplinary activities (Article 25(2)).

    The possible advantages of this procedure still need examining closely, as the additional bureaucratic demands and the consequent administrative cost will in the rapporteur’s view continue to exist.

    OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (16.12.2010)

    for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

    on the implementation of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC
    (2010/2053(INI))

    Rapporteur: Sophie Auconie

    SUGGESTIONS

    The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    A. whereas the freedom to provide services is enshrined in the Treaties,

    B. whereas activities covered by the Services Directive account for 40% of EU GDP and jobs and are therefore a crucial sector for economic growth and in the fight against unemployment; whereas the objective of the Services Directive is to unlock the enormous economic and job-creation potential of the European internal market in services, estimated at 0.6-1.5% of EU GDP; whereas, further, the Services Directive aims to achieve objectives listed in Article 3 TFEU,

    1. Emphasises that the Services Directive is an essential step towards a true single market for services, which should enable enterprises, and SMEs in particular, to provide citizens with better services at a competitive price throughout the internal market; considers, however, that after full transposition it is crucial that a comprehensive assessment should be carried out of the impact of the Services Directive on economic activity, qualitative and quantitative levels of employment, social protection, fulfilment of environmental objectives and the quality of services offered to consumers;

    2. Draws attention to the importance of the accessibility, efficiency and interoperability of points of single contact (PSCs) in all the Member States; considers, in particular, that these PSCs should deliver appropriate and comprehensive information on labour rights and tax arrangements in force in the Member States, particularly as regards VAT; considers that a single electronic point of access to the PSCs is insufficient to give providers qualitative assistance and asks for a performance analysis of PSCs on the basis of tangible indicators to be made available to the European Parliament; recommends, at all events, that the administrative burden imposed by the Services Directive on local and regional authorities should be kept to proportionate and reasonable levels;

    3. Notes that defining the scope of the Services Directive can be difficult, in particular as regards Services of General Interest; therefore asks the Commission to guarantee a clear legal environment for all services through the Single Market Act;

    4. Emphasises that the transposition process should take place as quickly as possible and in a transparent way; emphasises the importance of administrative cooperation and stresses that the competent authorities in all Member States should communicate more rapidly and effectively by making better use of the Internal Market Information System; expects from the Commission's report an analysis of the adjustments needed to ensure the full and efficient application of the directive; considers in particular that it would be appropriate to assess the implications of the transposition method chosen (vertical or horizontal) for its quality and legibility for service providers and citizens.

    OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (10.11.2010)

    for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

    on the implementation of the Services Directive (2006/123/EC)
    (2010/2053(INI))

    Rapporteur: Jean-Luc Bennahmias

    SUGGESTIONS

    The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    A. whereas the internal services market must develop fully whilst preserving the European social model intact, especially with regard to decent and secure employment and universal welfare,

    B.  whereas the Services Directive makes it significantly easier for self-employed persons and small and medium-sized companies in particular to pursue their activities, develop new areas of business and also recruit new staff in other Member States,

    C. whereas implementation of the Services Directive remains crucially important for completing the single market,

    D. whereas the services sector accounts for 70% of jobs and GDP in the European Union and is thus the largest sector of the EU economy, and whereas over the past decade rising demand has led to net job creation in the services sector in most of the euro area,

    E.  whereas a more dynamic and labour-intensive service sector could help sustain growth,

    1.  Hopes that the Services Directive will genuinely have a positive impact by creating decent, sustainable, quality jobs and improving the quality and safety of services provided;

    2.  Notes that comprehensive, consistent and timely transposition of the Services Directive is necessary in order for it fully to achieve its objectives;

    3.  Considers that the Services Directive should strengthen social welfare, workers’ rights and ensure fair working conditions for all EU citizens;

    4.  Recalls that the Services Directive must be interpreted in the light of the new Treaty provisions, in particular Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, the horizontal social clause in Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Article 14 TFEU, Protocol No 26 annexed to the Treaties, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

    5.  Notes that a number of problems have been experienced in recent years with the internal market, particularly as regards freedom of movement, and that the Posting of Workers Directive, for example, has created problems in several Member States; calls both on the Member States and on the EU institutions to continue to work towards resolving these problems, in particular by interpreting the Services Directive in the light of the Court of Justice judgments in the Viking, Laval and Rüffert cases and by revising the Posting of Workers Directive; points out, in that respect, that the economic fundamental freedoms of the single market must be counterbalanced by fundamental rights, including social fundamental rights, in the drafting and implementation of EU legislation, so that the internal market does not take precedence over or become more important than the European social model;

    6.  Recalls that the directive excludes a number of fields from its scope, including non-economic services of general interest, healthcare services and most social services; notes that the directive does not apply to labour law and does not affect Member States’ social security legislation either;

    7.  Calls on the Commission to provide further clarifications regarding both the scope of the directive, in particular in relation to the notions of ‘economic activities’, ‘services of general economic interest’ and ‘social services of general interest’, and the application of the directive to authorisation schemes in the area of social services of general interest, with due regard for the subsidiarity principle;

    8.  Considers that the points of single contact should be accessible as both electronic and physical contact points in all Member States and that they are particularly effective if they are easy to find and take a practical and multilingual approach; considers, furthermore, that the commitment of the points of single contact to giving small and medium-sized companies unbureaucratic advice and to informing citizens regarding issues related to the directive, in particular regarding applicable labour law, social security law and workers’ rights in force under the directive, should be strengthened; takes the view that, given the complexity of the legislation, when checks are carried out by employment or social security authorities, dialogue, advice and information must be core elements;

    9.  Considers that, in the light of the complexity of the legislation, each citizen must be able to consult the relevant authorities in order to obtain a precise reply to his/her questions; considers that the concept of advance administrative rulings should therefore be developed in the area of labour law and in the area of social security in order to combat legal uncertainty; considers, furthermore, that, in order to ensure transparency, the decisions taken should be published;

    10. Regrets that not all Member States have yet fully implemented the Services Directive, and calls for such implementation to take place as soon as possible;

    11. Considers that those circumventing the respective national employment laws, e.g. through undeclared work or false self-employment, must be prosecuted and punished;

    12. Invites the Commission to closely monitor the application of the directive in all Member States and to issue regular implementation reports; considers that these reports should take into account the real medium- and long-term effects of the directive on employment in the EU.

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    9.11.2010

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    40

    1

    4

    Members present for the final vote

    Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Marije Cornelissen, Frédéric Daerden, Karima Delli, Proinsias De Rossa, Frank Engel, Sari Essayah, Richard Falbr, Ilda Figueiredo, Pascale Gruny, Marian Harkin, Roger Helmer, Stephen Hughes, Martin Kastler, Ádám Kósa, Jean Lambert, Patrick Le Hyaric, Veronica Lope Fontagné, Olle Ludvigsson, Elizabeth Lynne, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Csaba Őry, Siiri Oviir, Rovana Plumb, Sylvana Rapti, Licia Ronzulli, Elisabeth Schroedter, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Jutta Steinruck

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Georges Bach, Raffaele Baldassarre, Jürgen Creutzmann, Julie Girling, Jelko Kacin, Jan Kozłowski, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Evelyn Regner, Csaba Sógor

    OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (3.12.2010)

    for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

    on the implementation of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC
    (2010/2053(INI))

    Rapporteur: Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova

    SUGGESTIONS

    The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    1.  Acknowledges the potential of the Services Directive for the further integration of the EU economy and the re-launch of the single market, by fostering economic prosperity and competitiveness and contributing to employment and job creation, as services account for a significant share of GDP and employment in the EU; takes the view that the correct and speedy implementation of the directive in all Member States is an important condition for the attainment of the objectives of cohesion and regional policy and that it can enhance the mutually reinforcing relationship between the internal market and cohesion policy and contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy, while serving to eliminate existing single market fatigue in the services sector;

    2.  Believes that the Internal Market Information System and the points of single contact – because they demand a great effort of administrative cooperation between all the authorities involved – may pave the way for further interoperability and networking at national, regional and local level across the EU; considers that the establishment of rules and procedures regarding the operation thereof must allow for a degree of flexibility in accordance with regional diversity at EU level and that, for this purpose, any measures should be adopted in partnership and after genuine debate at local and regional level; takes the view that, in addition, the points of single contact should be encouraged to adhere to the principle of multilingualism so that administrative procedures are more closely geared to needs, and effective, direct and rapid communication is facilitated; takes the view that it would be useful here for the points of single contact to have multilingual websites; notes, however the need to ensure that this does not impose additional burdens on the parties concerned, especially local and regional authorities;

    3.  Notes that the points of single contact should be established as public bodies and one-stop shops for service providers;

    4.  Considers it useful to establish cooperation within a European network formed by the Member States’ public authorities and to set up an interchange of information on the reliability of service providers, with a view to eliminating additional controls applied to cross-border activities;

    5.  Hopes that the aims of the directive may start to be achieved in the near future and that the whole of the EU and its regions may benefit, thus contributing to real economic, social and territorial cohesion; underlines the role of the structural funds and other funding instruments in providing access to, and ensuring the availability of, infrastructure in fields such as transport and telecommunications, research and innovation and education, in granting access to public goods and services in the regions – particularly in areas less attractive to investors, through the development and provision of incentives to investment in such areas – and in helping to encourage exchanges of good practice in the provision of key services; demands, in this context, greater coherence and coordination between all policies;

    6.  Takes the view that administrative procedures must become more efficient; considers that it would be useful in this connection to establish close cooperation between the points of single contact so that they can exchange experiences in the field of cross-border services in the various regions of Europe;

    7.  Calls on the Commission to monitor effectively, and assess from the outset, the impact of the directive on the regions, and to ensure effective coordination of all policies connected with the implementation of this directive; calls on the Commission to support an information campaign for local and regional authorities concerning the implementation of the directive, so as to facilitate the achievement of its objectives;

    8.  Expects that the directive may in fact bring about a reduction in administrative burdens and cases of legal uncertainty, especially those affecting SMEs, which predominate in the field of services; calls, for this purpose, on the Commission and on the Member States to reduce the current administrative burdens on local and regional authorities arising from the existing requirement to notify changes to articles of association; considers that the reduction of administrative burdens will also facilitate the development of additional services in rural, remote and outermost areas;

    9.  Advocates the implementation of national strategies to support innovative SMEs, which are most affected by the consequences of the economic and financial crisis;

    10. Points out that services of general interest can and should be regulated at the place where they originate and where citizens benefit from them; calls, therefore, for municipalities to be left sufficient room for manoeuvre in this respect;

    11. Calls for proper and thorough monitoring of the application of the restrictions provided for in the directive in respect of services of general economic interest, while respecting the division of competences with the Member States; points out that this directive does not affect the freedom of Member States to define, in accordance with EU law, what they consider to be services of general economic interest, how those services should be organised and financed in compliance with the rules on state aid, and to what specific obligations they should be subject;

    12. Calls for greater account to be taken of the basic principle of local self-government when implementing the directive, and for bureaucratic administrative burdens and restrictions on local-level decision-making powers with regard to services of general economic interest to be avoided insofar as possible.

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    30.11.2010

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    41

    2

    1

    Members present for the final vote

    Charalampos Angourakis, Sophie Auconie, Jean-Paul Besset, Victor Boştinaru, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Alain Cadec, Francesco De Angelis, Tamás Deutsch, Danuta Maria Hübner, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, Juozas Imbrasas, María Irigoyen Pérez, Seán Kelly, Evgeni Kirilov, Constanze Angela Krehl, Jacek Olgierd Kurski, Petru Constantin Luhan, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Riikka Manner, Iosif Matula, Erminia Mazzoni, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Wojciech Michał Olejniczak, Markus Pieper, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Monika Smolková, Georgios Stavrakakis, Csanád Szegedi, Nuno Teixeira, Michail Tremopoulos, Viktor Uspaskich, Hermann Winkler, Joachim Zeller

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, Jens Geier, Andrey Kovatchev, Elisabeth Schroedter, Dimitar Stoyanov, László Surján, Evžen Tošenovský, Derek Vaughan, Sabine Verheyen

    Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

    Andrea Češková

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    26.1.2011

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    32

    1

    5

    Members present for the final vote

    Pablo Arias Echeverría, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Jürgen Creutzmann, Christian Engström, Evelyne Gebhardt, Louis Grech, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Iliana Ivanova, Sandra Kalniete, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Edvard Kožušník, Kurt Lechner, Toine Manders, Hans-Peter Mayer, Gianni Pittella, Mitro Repo, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Matteo Salvini, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Laurence J.A.J. Stassen, Catherine Stihler, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Emilie Turunen, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Damien Abad, Cornelis de Jong, Ashley Fox, Liem Hoang Ngoc, Morten Løkkegaard, Konstantinos Poupakis