Speaking ahead of consideration by EU ambassadors of the Commission proposal to provide for more effective notification of national laws under the Services Directive, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren underlined the importance for the retail and wholesale sector of a system that allows the Commission and European stakeholders to have a chance to comment on new national rules aimed at regulating services before they are adopted:
“The present system under the Services Directive for notifying national measures, many of which can result in real difficulties for retailers and may not be in line with Single Market legislation, simply does not work. Too often, Member State governments do not even follow the present rules and never notify new national rules on services. Where they do notify, this is often only long after the event. The TRIS system for rules covering goods works well, and does not prevent governments regulating in the interest of consumers. I therefore really do not understand why doing the same in services should be such a difficult proposition for governments”.
As the Court of Auditors has reported, the present notification procedure under the Services Directive is not working properly – either for the sectors affected such as retail and wholesale, nor ultimately for the governments seeking to introduce new regulation. If a measure has already been introduced, the only way to have it reviewed is to go through lengthy infringement procedures. This is the background to EuroCommerce’s concern to see the European Parliament and Council quickly adopt a notification procedure for services with similar features to the existing procedures for goods under TRIS. This is the time of the Council to reach political agreement in this important area, and move to the next stage.