Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 2
The Services Directive 2006/123 was the legislative equivalent of a hot potato. The idea behind it was simple: to reduce the volume of authorizations and other paperwork which stood in the way of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services for out of State service providers, and to set up systems of administrative support, notably Points of Single Contact, to help these entrepreneurs navigate their way through the bureaucracy that remained. Yet this simple idea became embroiled in much large debates about the future direction of an enlarged Europe. Trade unions, in particular, were able to raise the spectre of widespread social dumping if the original draft of the Directive was adopted. The Parliament’s intervention proved crucial: its compromise text formed the basis of the final draft. This article examines the context in which the Directive was adopted, analyses the substance of its provisions and examines the impressive regulatory toolkit deployed to achieve its results.
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