The ambitious reform of the Single Market for services triggered by the adoption of the Services Directive is far from finished. Following an initial momentum when a significant number of reforms took place, the pace has slowed down in the recent years (due to a combination of economic and political factors), leaving still a lot to be done. The Commission fulfils its Treaty obligations by monitoring the implementation of the Services Directive. In this context, the objective of the study was to assist the institution with gathering information to underpin its assessment of the impact of the Services Directive. More specifically, CEPS and VVA were tasked to conduct a legal mapping of the developments in the services market, which provided information about the remaining barriers to the single market in a number of economic sectors. The outcome of the study served as a basis for the Commission to understand how the restrictions have evolved over time.
The purpose of the assignment was therefore the collection of detailed data on existing restrictions in certain services sectors at specifically defined points in time. The contractor had three specific tasks:
1) To screen and document existing rules introducing restrictions to the freedom of establishment or cross-border provision of services. For each Member State/EEA country the screening covered, the following data points: economic sector; time point and restriction. Subject to the screening was requirements imposed at national, regional or local level as well as any rules enacted by professional bodies, associations or organisation in the exercise of their legal autonomy to regulate in a collective manner the access to a specific service activity. The legal data was presented in a user-friendly spreadsheet (country report), which contained a reference to the measure imposing a specific requirement constituting a restriction within the meaning of the Directive, a weblink where possible, relevant information about the measure and a qualitative description of the restrictive requirement summarising its essential characteristics.
2) To design a detailed methodology for the numerical assessment of the restriction identified and documented under Task 1. The methodology was suitable to assess the level of restrictiveness of a given restriction at a given point in time, also taking into consideration possible intermediate situations when a restriction can vary in restrictiveness depending on the specific applicable provisions. The methodology was specific by type of restriction and laid down the scoring mechanism for that type of restriction.
3) To apply the methodology, following its approval by the Commission, and carry out a numerical assessment of each restriction as documented in Task 1.