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EU Member States Back Single Market For Services

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

25 November 2016

Ministers from 10 European Union (EU) member states have written to the President of the European Commission to call for "a real effort to strengthen the Single Market for services, and turn the principle of free movement of services into a reality."

According to the letter, "One of the most important areas where the single market has failed to reach its potential is in the field of services."

"A business should be able to go anywhere in Europe and provide its services without being confronted with disproportionate and unjustified requirements. Currently, this is not the case," the letter argued.

The letter stressed that ministers do not advocate lower levels of consumer or worker protection, or lower quality standards for services. Instead, they want to see "smarter and more coherent ways to regulate our markets, in the spirit of better regulation across Europe."

The ministers explained that, one year after the European Commission presented its Single Market Strategy, they are still awaiting concrete proposals. "There is much scope for a deeper integration of the European services market, and the combined initiatives in the Services Package should be important steps in this integration," they said.

The letter recommended that the Commission tackle national differences in the regulation of professions, and suggested that "a more harmonized approach on setting proportionate regulation will foster job creation, productivity, competition and lower prices for consumers."

The letter added that mandatory proportionality tests for professional regulations could deliver tangible benefits, and that the introduction of a European Services Card could remove administrative and regulatory barriers. It further recommended that the interplay between the Services Directive and Professional Qualifications Directive be improved, and that the notifications procedure for new regulatory measures be strengthened.

The letter was signed by ministers from: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

TAGS: business | European Commission | Ireland | Netherlands | Slovenia | Estonia | Luxembourg | United Kingdom | Czech Republic | Finland | Sweden | standards | regulation | European Union (EU) | Lithuania | services | Europe

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