Select Committee on European Scrutiny Ninth Report


The two stage approach

First stage: (For completion by the end of 2001)

The Commission urges the Council and the Parliament to come to rapid agreement in 2001 on the major legislative proposals before them, which impact on service activities in the Internal Market:

    —  the proposal for a directive on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public supply contracts, public service contracts and public works contracts (C0M/2000/0275 final)

    —   the proposal for a directive on the distance marketing of consumer financial services and amending Directives 97/7/EC and 98/27/EC (COM/99/0385 final)

    —   With the aim of creating a fully integrated and liberalised telecommunications markets by the end of 2001, all proposals resulting from the Commission's 1999 review of the telecoms regulatory framework

    —   Proposal for a directive on the further opening to competition of Community postal services (COM/2000/0319 final)

    —   Proposal for a directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society (SEC/2000/1734 final)

    —   Legislative follow-up to the Commission Communication updating the EU accounting strategy (C0M/2000/359 final).

    —   Proposal for the takeover bids directive (Com/97/0565 final)

    —   Proposal for a directive amending directive 77/338/EEC as regards the value added taxes arrangements applicable to services supplied by electronic means

The Commission will also initiate the following actions:

Action 1 Launch new initiatives to remove Internal Market barriers and increase the competitiveness of EU service markets, in particular on:

    —   Commercial Communications (sales promotions),

    —   Regulated professions (recognition of qualifications),

    —   Financial services and electronic commerce

    —   Counterfeiting and piracy

Action 2 Present a report reviewing individual directives, to enhance their contribution to the functioning of the Internal Market in services, with particular emphasis on:

    —   Directive 98/48/EC on provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations

    —   Directive 98/84/EC on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access

    —   Directive 93/83/EEC on rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission

    —   Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases

Action 3 Launch flanking measures to support the competitiveness of the EU service industry:

    —   improve the Community's statistical data on services by accelerating implementation of existing statistical legislation and, where necessary, undertaking complementary surveys;

    —   launch a benchmarking project to develop a reliable methodology for the delivery of indicators on and reporting of intangible assets held by service companies;

    —   analyse how training of ICT skills could focus on the specific needs of service enterprises;

    —   focus on improving the process of innovation in the context of the sixth Framework Programme for R&D.

Action 4 Launch a systematic survey of barriers to services in the Internal Market to identify specific problem areas. The results of this survey will be:

    —   analysed to identify key areas in which to accelerate infringement procedures

    —   used to further improve the Commission's "Dialogue with Business and Citizens" internet site.

    —   presented to forum of high level experts from the Member States and interested parties to discuss and solve, where possible, identified problems

    —   compiled in a report to the European parliament and the Council on the functioning of the Internal Market for Services as the basis for the actions in 2002.

Second stage: (For completion by the end of 2002)

On the basis of the analysis conducted in 2001, which will have identified barriers to the free movement of services, the following actions will be taken:

Action 1 — Draw up a list of obstacles which can be removed by Treaty principles The Commission will compile a systematic and comprehensive list of all barriers, which could be removed by the direct application of the Treaty, but where infringement cases are not already underway. This list, together with a request to remove all of these barriers within tight deadlines, will be presented to the Member States. In those cases where infringement proceeding have already been opened in 2001 or before, these will continue to be pursued.

Action 2 — Launch a package of non-legislative measures For non-legislative barriers that can be tackled by the use of alternative non-legislative instruments, the Commission will present specific initiatives, including Community codes of conduct, alternative dispute settlement mechanisms, and awareness actions designed to improve the flow of information.

Action 3 — Bring forward harmonisation measures For barriers which are horizontal in nature, an instrument will be proposed containing the following elements:

    —   Targeted harmonisation of requirements affecting several sectors or with knock-on effects across sectors, on the basis of a high level of protection for general interest objectives.

    —   A mechanism to ensure that the Internal Market can be used by all European service providers as their domestic market, notably through the efficient application of the principle of mutual recognition.

    —   Procedures to cope with new market developments and the evolution of the law, so as to avoid the risk of re-fragmentation of the Internal Market and to identify at an early stage the need for new Community legislation.

    —   Where regulatory barriers which cannot be addressed by such a horizontal instrument, they will be tackled through additional harmonisation measures. In the light of past experience, these additional harmonisation measures are likely to be appropriate in areas with significant health and consumer protection considerations.

Source: Commission Communication: An internal market strategy for services.

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