Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Administrative formalities and costs involved in accessing markets cross-border for provisions of accountancy, engineering and architecture services

Administrative formalities and costs involved in accessing markets cross-border for provisions of accountancy, engineering and architecture services
Published on: 07/06/2017
The objective of the study is to identify cross-border market access formalities and procedural steps, and assess the administrative burden and costs they entail.

The study covers 17 selected EU countries and focuses on formalities and procedural steps faced by companies providing architectural, engineering and accountancy services cross-border. This may be done via a branch or agency in the host country or via temporary cross-border service provision.

The study does not cover formalities specifically to do with professional qualifications of individuals, administrative requirements related to the posting of workers, and formalities relating to social security administration.

The key objectives of the study were to:

  • identify the formalities and procedural steps faced by companies that provide architectural, engineering and accountancy services and wish to access cross-border markets (either on a temporary basis or for secondary establishment)
  • better understand cross-border service providers' practical experiences and the efforts required by them to complete these formalities, and to quantify the costs involved

The main findings of the study were:

  • in several countries covered by the study, businesses from other European countries face significant administrative barriers when expanding activities to these countries and therefore incur high administrative costs
  • the identified authorisation schemes can serve policy purposes but there is considerable scope to simplify them and reduce the administrative burden associated with proving compliance with applicable conditions

Proposals drawn from the study on appropriate action to be undertaken by authorities in EU countries are:

  • enhance administrative cooperation and information sharing between EU countries in order to reduce complexity and costs for service providers
  • reflect on the necessity of authorisation requirements and, where they are deemed necessary, reduce their complexity and the costs of demonstrating compliance
  • ensure a more streamlined procedural workflow of formalities and procedures, in particular where they involve both regional and national levels of administration
  • offer service providers a single contact point to complete different formalities and procedural steps
  • make sure that service providers are able to carry out procedures online and at a distance
  • reduce delays for obtaining authorisations and introduce the tacit approval principle as much as possible
  • ensure proportionality of costs related to repeated formalities linked to authorisations that are limited in time