CEPS Project

Legal obstacles in Member States to Single Market rules


The potential gains from further removal of barriers in the EU Single Market to the free movement of services is estimated to be at least €389 bn., primarily stemming from full implementation of the Services Directive across all Member States. A full achievement of the EU Digital Single Market has the potential to bring further gains to the EU economy of around €176 bn.

Given the substantial potential to be gained from further Single Market integration, it is important to understand in more detail the various barriers that stand in the way for this to happen. The current study will contribute by identifying the prevalence of national legislation, regulations or enforcement practices that contradict or counteract Single Market rules. Specifically, the study helps the European Parliament IMCO committee to focus its efforts by clearly identifying various national legislative and administrative barriers.

Based on extensive desk research and analysis of existing sources of information, including recent material from the European Commission, CJEU cases, infringement proceedings and other relevant reports, the consortium formulates recommendations to mitigate and/or remove identified barriers across the Single Market.


·       Task 1: Identify and classify relevant national legislation that contradicts Single Market rules

·       Task 2: Identify and analyse trends in national legal obstacles to the Single Market

·       Task 3: Map existing tools that aim to address national legal obstacles to the Single Market, and suggest new possible tools

·       Task 4: Identify recommendations on how to remove existing national legal obstacles and to prevent new ones from emerging

This project was awarded under the Framework Contract for External expertise on regulatory and policy issues in the fields of Internal Market (lot 1) (n IP/A/IMCO/FWC/2019-014/L1/C1) with the European Parliament, IMCO committee. The full list of CEPS’ Framework Contracts is available here.

Jacques Pelkmans

Associate Senior Research Fellow

+32 (0)2 229 39 56

Mattia Di Salvo

Associate Researcher

+32 (0)2 229 39 76