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At your service – Directive on cross border movement of services
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: EU, Competition and Regulatory
The Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment has announced that regulations to implement Directive 2006/123/EC (the “Services Directive”) are at an advanced stage. The purpose of the Services Directive is to further break down the barriers to the cross-border movement of service providers throughout the Member States.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment previously published the draft regulations which will give effect to the Services Directive in Irish law. Certain services are excluded from the scope of the draft regulations (as they are in the Services Directive). Excluded services include the postal sector, certain parts of the electricity, gas and waste treatment sectors and professional services.
The principal aspects of the draft regulations are as follows:
- Bodies in Ireland which are responsible for granting licences or other authorisations for the carrying on of a service must facilitate access to that service by providers in a simple manner.
- A body or bodies will be set up as "point(s) of single contact" for service providers and recipients. Businesses intending to engage in service activity in Ireland will be able to complete all the necessary requirements (including applying for any licences or authorisations required) by application to a single body.
- Procedures adopted to grant licences or authorisations to businesses who wish to provide services or set up a business in Ireland must not discriminate against businesses from other Member States. In other words, there must not be any requirement based on residency or a company’s country of incorporation.
- If a business has already satisfied requirements for a licence to carry on a service activity in another Member State, it shall not be required to satisfy these requirements again in Ireland.
- The draft regulations provide that certain information in relation to the service provider and the service provided must be given to recipients, including its address, legal status and membership of any business or trade association.
- Information about service providers in other Member States must also be made available by Ireland to enable potential recipients to easily assess service providers in other Member States.
For a service provider, the implementation of the Services Directive will help simplify the administrative burden on business operations in Ireland and in other Member State countries. For recipients of services from providers within the EU, the regulations will make it easier to locate competitive service providers and to engage their services in the future.