Services Directive fully transposed at last
By Sophie Mosca | Thursday 31 May 2012
Transposition of the Services Directive (2006/123/EC), which member states were supposed to do by the end of 2009, has finally been completed after a delay of two and a half years. On 31 May, the European Commission announced its decision to terminate the infringement proceedings against the last lagging state, Greece.
Athens, which was under infringement proceedings before the EU Court of Justice for failure to fully transpose the directive, and facing steep penalty payments, informed the EU executive that it had adopted all measures required for full transposition (see
On 27 October 2011, the Commission also referred Germany and Austria to the EU court, using for the first time a measure introduced by Article 260 of the Lisbon Treaty, to give member states strong incentive to transpose EU directives. Under the measure, penalties may be imposed on lagging states at an earlier stage in proceedings than in the past: the court may order daily penalty payments during proceedings for failure to act in cases of persistent transposition delays. Berlin and Vienna notified the Commission of their adoption of final transposition measures on 26 January and 26 April 2012, respectively.
The Commission nevertheless plans to “check that legislation is actually implemented and reserves the right to open infringement proceedings should it not be applied correctly”.
The Services Directive obliges member states to eliminate legal and administrative obstacles to setting up businesses or providing cross-border services in the EU.