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Economic background, facts and figures

Services are one of the main drivers of the EU economy: they account for over two-thirds of EU GDP and employment and have been the source of all net job-creation in recent years. Although the Services Directive does not cover all service sectors, the sectors it applies to represent a share of around 40% of GDP and employment.

With its programme of administrative simplification, with the setting up of eGovernment portals for businesses ("Points of Single Contact") and with its expected dismantling of unnecessary red tape, the Services Directive is a crucial milestone in maximising the benefits of the Single Market for consumers and businesses alike. If fully implemented, it should have significantly positive effects, including:




  • Making the creation of companies less burdensome, saving time and money
  • Facilitating the cross-border provision of services
  • Giving consumers easier access to services.

Several economic studies point towards significant gains in terms of foreign direct investment, growth and job creation that can be expected, by all Member States, from the implementation of the Services Directive.

European Commission studies

External studies

06.07.2012Possible Effects of the Services Directive – Study carried out by National Board of Trade in Swedenpdf
15.12.2009Economic effects of the Services Directive in Belgium: an ex ante assessment

Study carried out by the National Bank of Belgium in collaboration with the Federal Planning Bureua

21.09.2009OECD survey of EU economy
09.2008Internal market and the Dutch economy – implications for trade and growth
CPB Netherland Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis
14.06.2008An open worldpdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Ernst & Young’s 2008 European attractiveness survey
12.06.2008Study on international trade in services
14.11.2007Expected economic benefits of the European Services Directive Nederlands
CPB Netherland Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis
03.05.2007Consequences for local and regional authoritiespdf Choose translations of the previous link 
A Dutch study
01.10.2006Single market trails home biaspdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Study carried out by Bruegel
01.2006Deepening the Lisbon Agenda: Studies on Productivity, Services and Technologiespdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Report published by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour:
13.10.2005The EU’s single market: at your service?
Working paper by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
09.02.2005Economic impact of the proposal for a directive on services in the Internal Marketpdf Choose translations of the previous link 
Results of an independent study by Copenhagen Economics
25.10.2004The free movement of services within the EU
CPB Netherland Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis