Parliament and Commission prepared to renew mutual evaluation
By Florence Martin | Tuesday 25 October 2011
On 25 October, the European Parliament adopted in plenary session Malgorzata Handzlik’s (EPP, Poland) own-initiative report calling for the repetition of the novel exercise of mutual evaluation concerning the implementation of the Services Directive. The debate with the European Commission showed the convergence of their points of view.
MEPs welcome the exercise of an “evaluation by peers,” which provides a useful framework for member states to understand the remaining obstacles, to exchange implementing practices and to receive feedback on their political choices. MEPs feel that the exercise should be repeated with established criteria: case-by-case use, use on key provisions for a legislation, use for horizontal directives involving several transposition measures and leaving member states an important margin. To limit the administrative cost, MEPs recommend that a “lightened” mutual evaluation be considered. Moreover, the Commission feels that mutual evaluation is a “tool for the future” but recognises that one must proceed on a case-by-case basis to decide on its application to future legislations.
Firstly, the two institutions recall the fact that the full transposition of the Services Directive is a priority, in particular establishing point of single contact. Following the request, in the parliamentary report, for an economic study assessing the impact of the Services Directive on activity and employment, Commissioner László Andor announced that the results would be published at the start of 2012.
As part of the mutual evaluation, the discussions between member states and actors showed that the single market is still in construction. To illustrate this, the commissioner gave the example of an established architect living in Belgium and working for clients in the Netherlands. He could be subject to the directive on services, the directive on e-commerce and the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications. This interaction of texts leads to uncertainty and practical difficulties. Therefore, the Commission announces its intention to carry out performance tests in the sectors of construction, tourism and services for businesses in order to evaluate the way in which the various EU laws work on the field before potentially taking concrete measures in 2012. The EP welcomes this initiative and wants to be involved.
The exercise of ‘mutual evaluation’ was carried out for the first time in 2010 by the member states and the Commission to evaluate the internal market of services after the implementation of the Services Directive (2006/123/EC). The exercise is laid out in Article 39 of this directive. The exercise revealed that obstacles to the realisation of single market of services remain. This led the Commission to adopt targeted actions in its 27 January communication (see
Europolitics 4129) to speed up is correct and complete transposition.