While services in Europe account for about 70% of EU GDP and some 90% of new jobs created, cross-border provision of services is still under-developed. Companies still face many obstacles when providing their services across borders and experience that a true single market for services is not a reality yet.

It is essential that services markets become more integrated and more competitive to create growth and jobs, and to be able to compete with the rest of the world. The single market for services still has an untapped potential between €337 bn to €637 bn (source: EPRS of the European Parliament, Cost of Non-Europe, 2015), and even if the range is so wide due to complexities of data collection on services, it is deemed that these figures might significantly underestimate the overall potential gains of a fully-fledged single market for services.

Despite the progress made with the 2006 services directive, many barriers remain due to its diverse interpretation and application on the ground. There is a need for much better implementation of the directive by member states and enforcement measures where non-compliance with its provisions is detected. To ensure this, transparency on requirements related to provision of services, adopted by member states at all levels, from national to local, should be ensured and dialogue with stakeholders reinforced.

Other remaining obstacles relate to uneven interpretation and application of rules on free movement of labour, such as posted workers, diverse national service standards, lack of recognition of professional qualifications, still high number of regulated professions that fragment labour markets, double insurance obligations, strains on company mobility, e-commerce barriers and complexity in tax activities. There are also regular issues to be addressed in relation to interplay with the rules on applicable law and consumer protection legislation.


Position papers Date
The Platform to Business proposal - a BusinessEurope position paper 24/09/2018
Comments on the 2017 “Services Package” including the proposals for a European services e-card - a BusinessEurope position paper 27/04/2017
Comments on the European Services Card initiative - a BusinessEurope position paper 14/10/2016
BusinessEurope response to “Services Passport” public consultation 26/07/2016
Single market strategy: comments on the proposed "services passport" 06/04/2016
Geo-blocking and different treatment in the single market 18/12/2015
Remaining obstacles to a true single market for services - a strategy paper 15/12/2014
Modernising public services through digital tools and ICT solutions - BusinessEurope position paper 19/06/2013
Key components for building a true single market for services - a BusinessEurope position paper 05/03/2013
Building a genuine single market for services - a BusinessEurope position paper 30/05/2012
Revision of State aid rules applicable to public services - a BusinessEurope position paper 21/10/2011
Key components of the revision of state aid rules applicable to services of general economic interest (SGEIs) - a BusinessEurope position paper 29/06/2011
Fostering innovation in services - A key driver for growth 25/05/2011
The application of state aid rules to services of general economic interest - BusinessEurope position paper on the Commission's consultation 01/09/2010
Universal service principles in e-communications - A BusinessEurope position paper 11/05/2010
Public services in the 21st century: driving for excellence - Towards a stronger public and private partnership 18/11/2009
The Services Directive: the moment of truth 03/09/2009
Public letters Date
Call for a deal on the proposal on Notifications in Services before the summer break - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer 03/05/2018
Horizontal European standards for services - Letter from Jérôme P. Chauvin to Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano, CEN-CENELEC 18/08/2014
Modernisation of public administration - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope's Director General, to Lithuanian Minister of Economy Evaldas Gustas in view of the Informal Competitiveness Council on 22-23 July 2013 19/06/2013
European Parliament report on the internal market for services - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to Anna Maria Corazza Bildt and all IMCO MEPs and substitutes 05/03/2013
Cyprus Presidency of the European Union - Letter from BusinessEurope President Jürgen R. Thumann to Demetris Christofias, President of Cyprus 12/09/2012
Follow-up to the 2009 communication on developing public-private partnerships - Letter from Philippe de Buck to José Manuel Barroso 29/07/2010
Press releases Date
Timely Services Package, but European Services e-Card needs work 10/01/2017
Public-private partnerships: a tool for better and cost-effective public services and infrastructure 19/11/2009
Speeches Date
Commission / EUGO workshop "Coordinated marketing initiative for Points of Single Contact (PSCs)", Vilnius - Speaking notes for Jeroen Hardenbol 09/06/2015
Business perspective on key priorities for the single market for products and services - Speech by Markus J. Beyrer at the Enterprise Policy Group (EPG) 26/11/2014
European Parliament hearing "Implementing the services directive: lift-off for mission growth" - Presentation by Mechteld Oomen 20/02/2013
Are the points of single contact truly making things easier for European companies? - Presentation by Jeroen Hardenbol at GSP-MEDEF event on the single market for services 14/02/2012
Working together for growth: making the most of the internal market and external trade - Address by Philippe de Buck at the Mutual Supportiveness conference 20/01/2012
The future of social services of general interest - Speaking notes for Rebekah Smith in the hearing of the EP EMPL Committee 25/01/2011
Promoting partnerships between public and private - Presentation by Jean-Claude Banon at EPEC private sector forum 13/12/2010
Points of single contact: is it easier now to set up a business? - Presentation by Jérôme Chauvin at the EPP workshop on the services directive 08/12/2010
Services Directive: the European business perspective on implementation - Presentation by Jérôme Chauvin at the seminar by Czech Permanent Representation to the EU 04/11/2010
Public services shaping the EU 2020 - Address by Philippe de Buck at the CEEP Congress, Madrid 01/06/2010
The Services Directive's points of single contact - Presentation by Carlos Almaraz at ERA conference 22/03/2010
Services directive: the European business perspective on implementation - Presentation by Carlos Almaraz at the Malta Business Bureau seminar on the services directive 19/11/2009
Delivering public infrastructure in the 21st century: the case for PPPs - Presentation by Jean-Claude Banon 30/10/2009
Point of single contact: different options for different goals - Presentation by Carlos Almaraz at EIPA seminar 27/10/2009
Event Date
“Mutual recognition: Boosting the Single Market! – Exploring the opportunities and challenges for Europe” - Conclusions BusinessEurope - LPK joint event, 15 October 2013, Vilnius, Lithuania 22/10/2013
Reports and studies Date
Are the Points of Single Contact truly making things easier for European companies? - BusinessEurope report on implementation of the services directive 28/11/2011
Unleashing cross-border services - report on implementation of the services directive 31/01/2011
Ready, Steady, Service! - Report on transposition of the Services Directive 24/11/2008


Martynas Barysas

+32 2 237 65 72
Last updated: 15 January 2019