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EU-lidstaten halen deadline dienstenrichtlijn niet (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op woensdag 3 februari 2010, 9:27.

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Only one third of EU member states have successfully implemented the EU's services directive, despite the passing of a 28 December 2009 deadline.

This was the main finding of a report published by Eurochambres, an organisation representing EU chambers of commerce, on Tuesday (2 February), with the body now calling on the European Commission to ramp up pressure on national governments.

"Disappointingly, a number of member states clearly did not consider this directive's implementation as a political and economic priority," said Eurochambres secretary general Arnaldo Abruzzini.

After much controversy and far-reaching amendments, the services directive was finally passed three years ago. It is designed to help service businesses, such as interior designers and barbers, operate across EU borders, with the majority currently only working in their domestic markets.

A key operational component of the legislation is the setting up of single points of contact (PSCs) in each country, enabling EU businesses to access and complete all the necessary forms online in order to set up shop in a different member state.

Advocates of the directive say it will be crucial to help the EU to return to higher growth after the recent recession, with services accounting for more than two-thirds of the economic activity and jobs in the region.

"It will remain the most powerful directive for the completion of the single market," said Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour, who helped steer the directive through the European Parliament.

The report names eight countries where implementation has been "poor" due to serious delays. They are Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Pressed by journalists about the commission's relative silence regarding the missed deadline, an EU representative insisted the institution would "not shy away" from pushing member states towards full implementation. "We will not rule out legal proceedings," she added.

Eurochambres described another group of countries as making "moderate" progress, but running late in terms of either legal or operational implementation. These countries included Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The EU representative noted that many were in a position to achieve full implementation by the summer.

The nine states to comply fully with the services directive so far are: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

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