Sunday, 13 November 2011

Improper implementation of the Services Directive

While the European institutions are busy preparing new sales' regulations (Consumer Rights Directive and Common European Sales Law), services seemed to be a bit forgotten. This is surprising taking into account that consumers conclude many contracts for provisions of services in various areas of their lives. The Services Directive, which harmonizes these contracts to a certain extent, was adopted on 12 December 2006 and binds in all Member States at the latest as of the beginning of 2010. Or at least, it was supposed to...

Two weeks ago the European Commission referred three Member States (Austria, Germany and Greece) to the CJEU for only partial transposition of the Directive (Services Directive: the Commission refers Germany, Austria and Greece to the Court over incomplete transposition of the Directive). The Directive required EU countries to remove unjustified or disproportionate legal and administrative barriers to the setting up of businesses and the provision of cross-border services in the EU. Another goal thereof is to get rid of unwarranted barriers affecting service recipients (both consumers and businesses) wanting to make use of services from other Member States. All in all, it's supposed to facilitate cross-border provision of services to consumers and businesses, alike. What have the three Member States missed to implement?

"Austria has yet to pass any horizontal transposition laws while in Germany three measures have still to be adopted (one at federal level and two at regional level). In Greece a whole series of measures has yet to be adopted, especially in economically important sectors such as tourism and personal and business services. A law on private employment agencies and a law on estate agents and sales representatives, for example, have still to be adopted."

It's good to know that the poor uncle (that's how European regulation of the provision of services could be perceived in comparison to the regulation of sales contracts) gets any attention from the European institutions, at all.

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