Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Implementation of the services directive

Implementation of the services directive

The services directive had to be transposed into the national legislation of all EU countries by 28 December 2009. It required important changes in the laws of all EU countries and set up a number of ambitious projects such as the Points of Single Contact. The European Commission monitored the directive’s implementation and works on further improvements to the single market for services.

Handbook for EU countries

To help national authorities implement the services directive, the European Commission prepared a Handbook on implementation of the services directive.

Implementation of the services directive in EU countries

To implement the general principles and obligations of the services directive, EU countries had to introduce new laws and modify or abolish existing legislation not complying with the directive

  • most EU countries decided to adopt 1 horizontal law
  • some EU countries (Germany, France) implemented several acts

See how all the EU countries transposed the services directive into their national legislation:

Transposition of the directive at national level

  • Overview of all national provisions officially communicated by Member States on the implementation of the services directive
  • Links to horizontal laws adopted by EU countries to transpose the services directive:
CountryLaw adoptedMore information
AustriaLaw implementing services directiveWebsite Deutsch
BelgiumLaw implementing the services directive (page 9, français- Nederlands, pdf 3 MB) 
Bulgarialaw implementing the services directive български pdf 
CyprusLaw implementing services directive ελληνικά pdf(3 MB) 
Czech RepublicLaw implementing services directive (page 22) čeština (724 kB) pdfWebsite in čeština and in English
DenmarkLaw implementing the services directive danskPress release (27 kB)
EstoniaLaw implementing services directive 
FinlandLaw implementing services directive 

No horizontal law adopted

GermanyNo horizontal law adopted 
GreeceLaw implementing services directive ελληνικά 

Law implementing services directive magyar pdf (5 MB)

Amendments to other related laws magyar pdf (1 MB)

IrelandLaw implementing services directive (225 kB)Website
ItalyLaw implementing services directive italiano pdf (5 MB)Website italiano
LatviaLaw implementing services directive 
LithuaniaLaw implementing services directive 
LuxembourgLaw implementing services directive français pdf (150 kB) 
MaltaLaw implementing services directive (209 kB) Malti 
PolandLaw implementing services directive polski pdf (124 kB) 
PortugalLaw implementing services directive português pdf (250 kB) 
RomaniaLaw implementing services directive – part 1 română and part 2 română 
SlovakiaLaw implementing services directive 
SloveniaLaw implementing services directive slovenščina pdf (780 kB) 
SpainLaw implementing services directive español

Report on the implementation of the services directive in Spain (2 MB) español pdf (1 MB) – Annex español pdf (911 kB)

Website español

Leaflet español pdf (2 MB)

SwedenLaw implementing services directive svenska 
The Netherlands

Law implementing services directive Nederlands, Order Nederlands pdf (85 kB) and Decree Nederlands pdf (35 kB)

Order modifying existing regulation Nederlands pdf (67 kB)

Regulation on the implementation of points single contact and commission decision imi Nederlands pdf (2 MB)
United KingdomLaw implementing services directive (174 kB) 

Infringement proceedings

24.06.2010 Commission transmits reasoned opinion to Member States who have not yet notified the adoption of all the regulatory changes required by the directive (press release)

Legislative history

See the history of the legislative process leading to the adoption of the services directive.

12.12.2006Directive 2006/123/EC - final text
15.11.2006European Parliament’s vote on the services directive
24.07.2006Council position - Text of the common position (430 KB)
31.05.2006Council reaches political agreement
04.04.2006Commission puts forward amended proposal - Press release, text of the amended proposal – COM(2006) 160 final
10.02.2005Opinion of the European and Social Committee (195 kB) on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market.
22.10.2004Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market.
31.07.2002The state of the internal market for services
11.01.2001The Internal Market Strategy for Services: Commission launches new strategy to dismantle remaining barriers: Press release and Frequently Asked Questions

Enforcement instrument to the services directive: initiative to modernise the notification procedure for services

The services directive established that national rules restricting the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services falling under the Directive must be non-discriminatory, proportionate and justified by public interest objectives. To ensure that all new regulatory measures imposed by EU countries fulfil these conditions and to prevent new barriers, the Services Directive introduced a procedure whereby EU countries shall notify the Commission of new or changed regulatory measures affecting services. This should allow for an assessment of whether such measures are justified and proportionate.

Experience and assessment of the application of the current notification procedure under the services directive point to a number of difficulties with it. These issues mean that it is not possible to ensure an effective preventive enforcement of the services directive, i.e. ensuring that all new and changed national regulation is non-discriminatory, justified and proportionate, without the Commission having to initiate legal infringement proceedings against already adopted measures.

The single market strategy of 28 October 2015 announced several actions to further develop the single market for services. Improving the delivery of the services directive by reforming the notification procedure is one of these actions.

To develop its policy proposal, the Commission conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation, the results of which are now available.

Evaluation of the implementation

Learn more about the evaluation of the implementation of the services directive by EU countries.