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Rights of recipients

In order to establish a genuine Single Market in services, it is not only necessary to facilitate the freedom of operators to provide services but it is equally important to ensure that recipients of services can easily exercise their freedom to use them.

The concept of "recipient" does not only cover consumers but also businesses who want to use services in the course of their activities. To enhance the rights of recipients and strengthen their confidence in the internal market, the Services Directive requires Member States to:

  • remove obstacles for recipients wanting to use services supplied by providers established in other Member States, such as obligations to obtain an authorisation;
  • abolish discriminatory requirements based on the recipient’s nationality or place of residence. This obligation of non-discrimination has to be complied with by the Member States' public administrations (i.e. the State or regional or local authorities) and by service providers in their general conditions of access to a service from another Member State;
  • make available to recipients general information and assistance on the legal requirements, in particular consumer protection rules, and on redress procedures applicable in other Member States.
July 2014Buy services anywhere in the EU – A practical guide for consumerspdf Choose translations of the previous link 
June 2012Commission Staff Working Document with a view to establishing guidance on the application of Article 20(2) of Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market ('the Services Directive')pdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Jan. 2012List of Art.21 bodiespdf Choose translations of the previous link  designated by Member States to assist service recipients
May 2010

Leaflet for consumers. Outlines the concrete benefits of the Services Directive for consumers.
Get the services you need wherever you arepdf Choose translations of the previous link 

Dec. 2009Study on the non-discrimination clause in Article 20(2) of the Services Directivepdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Study launched by the Commission with the objective to analyse business practices which may fall within the non-discrimination clause in Article 20(2) of the Directive as well as their possible reasons. The study, carried out throughout 2009, is intended to assist Member States in view of the application and enforcement of Article 20(2).