Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Evaluation of the implementation and next steps

Evaluation of the implementation and next steps

To assess EU countries' implementation of the Services Directive, a number of evaluation exercises were carried out. Even though much progress has already been achieved, some barriers to the cross-border trade of services in the EU still remain in place. These exercises (‘peer reviews’) allow EU countries together with the European Commission to review and assess the requirements applicable in different countries and exchange best practice.

Mutual evaluation (2010-11) and performance check (2011-12)

  • Mutual evaluation process - the mutual evaluation process consisted of a thorough evaluation of the regulatory framework applicable to services activities in EU countries following the implementation of the Services Directive. Requirements such as prior authorisation, registration requirements and territorial restrictions were evaluated. Results and measures to further improve the Single Market for Services were presented in January 2011. The process revealed barriers such as a wide use of reserved service activities for certain operators, restrictive legal form, and shareholdings requirements and insurance obligations.
  • Performance check exercise - the performance check consisted of an assessment of how different pieces of EU legislation (the Services Directive, the e-Commerce Directive and the Professional Qualifications Directive) interact and are jointly applied by EU countries in three important economic sectors (construction, business services and tourism). The exercise revealed deficient implementation of the three above mentioned Directives.

Mutual evaluation documents

10.03.2011 Conclusions on a better functioning Single Market for services – mutual evaluation process of the Services Directive (41 kB), Competitiveness Council
Jan. 2011 Commission presents results of mutual evaluation process:
Dec. 2010 Commission publishes results of stakeholder consultation in the context of the Directive’s implementation process
June 2010

Stakeholder consultation on mutual evaluation (30 June 2010 – 13 September 2010)
The objective of the consultation was to get feedback from consumers, businesses and any other interested party on their assessment of national measures implementing the Services Directive as well as other existing national provisions applicable in the area of services.

Implementation report - the services package (2011)

To report on the implementation of the Services Directive, the Commission adopted a services package in 2012. The package:

  • took stock of progress achieved by EU countries in removing unjustified barriers to the Single Market for Services
  • identified restrictions that have not yet been abolished, such as such as the use of residency requirements or economic needs tests
  • proposed measures to improve the functioning of the Single Market for Services.

Peer review (2012-13)

The services package showed that even though some EU countries liberalised or abolished legal form and shareholding requirements as part of their implementation of the Services Directive, these requirements still remain widespread. By contrast, most compulsory tariffs seem to have been abolished in the EU.

The Commission therefore conducted a peer review on legal form and shareholding requirements. Discussions between EU countries took place from the end of 2012 to the beginning of 2013. The findings of the peer review are presented in the Staff Working Document that accompanies the Communication on evaluating national regulations on access to professions.

Assessment of implementation measures in EU countries

The study looks at national measures implementing the provision of the Services Directive and it focuses on the provision of Articles 14, 15 and 16.

Stakeholder workshops on businesses’ experience (2014-15)

To provide evidence of the remaining obstacles to a fully functioning Single Market for Services, the Commission and EU countries carried out nine stakeholder workshops in key cross-border regions between September and November 2014 within the context of the Single Market Forum. These workshops targeted small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are still facing difficulties providing or purchasing services across borders. In addition, a questionnaire was sent to stakeholders seeking additional evidence on their experiences.

An analysis of the outcome of the stakeholder workshops (661 kB)

Staff Working Documents (2014)

The Commission also published two staff working documents on the national reforms in services markets and access to insurance for services provided in other EU countries:

Updates and reports

Information notes by the European Commission

Dec 2010 'State of implementation of the Services Directive (270 kB)'
Information note from the Commission to the Competitiveness Council of 10 December 2010
May 2010 'State of implementation of the Services Directive' (134 kB)
Information note from the Commission to the Competitiveness Council of 25- 26 May 2010
Mar 2010 'State of implementation of the Services Directive (137 kB)'
Information note from the Commission to the Competitiveness Council of 1- 2 March 2010
Sept 2009 'Implementation of the Services Directive: Making the Internal Market for Services Work Better' (35 kB)
Information note from the Commission to the Competitiveness Council of 24-25 September 2009

European Parliament and Council documents

Mar 2011

Conclusions on a better functioning Single Market for services – mutual evaluation process of the Services Directive (41 kB), Competitiveness Council

Feb 2011 European Parliament adopts report on implementation of Services Directive2006/123/CE (2010/2053(INI))
Sept. 2010

Workshop on 'The implementation of the Services Directive' (53 kB), European Parliament

May 2010 Presidency report on the mutual evaluation process (100 kB)
May 2009 A competitive and sustainable EU industrial policy – an integrated approach (150 kB)
Mar 2009 Presidency Conclusions (215 kB), European Council
Mar 2009 Single Market – vital tool in testing times (146 kB)
Mar 2009 Services Directive implementation workshop (137 kB), European Parliament
Dec 2008 Small Business Act for Europe (255 kB)
Mar 2008 Presidency Conclusions (190 kB), European Council
Feb. 2008 A Single Market for 21st century Europe (103 kB)
Mar 2007 Presidency Conclusions (216 kB), European Council

Input by other parties

July 2012

Possible effects of the Services Directive (337 kB)
Report by the Swedish Board of Trade

Nov 2011

Are the Points of Single Contact truly making things easier for European companies? (861 kB)
Business Europe's most recent report on the implementation of the Services Directive

Jan 2011

The Chambers' perspective on the Points of Single Contact (2 MB)
Eurochambers’ most recent report on situation in different EU countries

Jan 2011

Unleashing crossborder services (1 MB)
Report on the implementation of the Services Directive by Business Europe

Feb 2010 Implementation of the Services Directive (2 MB)
Eurochambers’ most recent report on situation in different EU countries
July 2009 Implementation of Services Directive (5 MB)
Eurochambers’ most recent report on situation in different EU countries