European Interest

MEPs threatening to block introduction of services E-card

Flickr/BBL Bond Beter Leefmilieu/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
"We're always hearing that the EU's four freedoms are unconditional, but it's clearly not true when it comes to services," Van Bossuyt said.

A proposal to introduce a much needed services e-card that will make it easier for companies to provide their services in other Member States could be rejected by MEPs in the parliament’s internal market committee tomorrow.

Under the draft laws companies wishing to provide their services in another EU country would be able to complete administrative formalities in their own country and language before it is transmitted by authorities to the host member state. While companies will still need to adhere to local laws, such as labour rules, the e-card aims to reduce much of the bureaucracy that comes with offering services in another Member State.

Parliament has two rapporteurs on the proposals, internal market committee chair Anneleen Van Bossuyt from the ECR Group, and Morten Lokkegaard from ALDE. Both support the proposals, which are also backed businesses and in particular SMEs, and are now calling on other members of the committee to support them when they are put to the vote on Wednesday morning.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Van Bossuyt said:

“We’re always hearing that the EU’s four freedoms are unconditional, but it’s clearly not true when it comes to services.

“A decade on from the Services Directive and all we see is continued stalling rather than reform. Today’s vote is essential to show that MEPs stand up for a single market in services, and the consumers who stand to benefit.

“We’ve made so much progress in goods, but not nearly enough in services. Selling a service should be no different to selling a car.”

“Today the administrative procedures for cross-border service provision are timely and costly. Some companies need to wait for 6 to 18 months before authorities deal with their application. This bureaucracy discourages businesses from going cross-border and is bad for consumers,” Lokkegaard said.

Although the e-card doesn’t affect existing labour laws, the e-card will help fight against letterbox companies, fraudulent activities and bogus self-employment. Lokkegaard continued:

“The prior checks provided by the home Member State do not exist today and should now make it more difficult for shell companies to expand cross-border. Additionally, labour inspectorates will be able to make use of the information contained in the e-card in the course of their inspection activities.”


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