All EU countries had to transpose the Services Directive into national legislation by 28 December 2009. It required important changes in the laws of all EU countries and set up a number of ambitious projects such as the Points of Single Contact. The European Commission monitored the directive’s implementation and works on further improvements to the single market for services.
Handbook for EU countries
Implementation of the services directive in EU countries
To implement the general principles and obligations of the services directive, EU countries had to introduce new laws and modify or abolish existing legislation not complying with the directive
- most EU countries decided to adopt 1 horizontal law
- some EU countries (Germany, France) implemented several acts
See how all the EU countries transposed the services directive into their national legislation.
- Overview of all national provisions officially communicated by EU countries on the implementation of the services directive
- Links to horizontal laws adopted by EU countries to transpose the services directive:
|Country||Law adopted||More information|
|Austria||Law implementing services directive||Website|
|Belgium||Law implementing the services directive (page 9,
|Bulgaria||law implementing the services directive|
|Cyprus||Law implementing services directive|
|Czech Republic||Law implementing services directive (page 22)
|Denmark||Law implementing the services directive||Press release (27 kB)|
|Estonia||Law implementing services directive|
|Finland||Law implementing services directive|
No horizontal law adopted
|Germany||No horizontal law adopted|
|Greece||Law implementing services directive|
|Ireland||Law implementing services directive (225 kB)||Website|
|Italy||Law implementing services directive
|Latvia||Law implementing services directive|
|Lithuania||Law implementing services directive|
|Luxembourg||Law implementing services directive|
|Malta||Law implementing services directive (209 kB)
|Poland||Law implementing services directive
|Portugal||Law implementing services directive|
|Romania||Law implementing services directive – part 1|
and part 2
|Slovakia||Law implementing services directive|
|Slovenia||Law implementing services directive|
|Spain||Law implementing services directive|
(1 MB) – Annex
|Sweden||Law implementing services directive|
(85 kB) and Decree
|United Kingdom||Law implementing services directive (174 kB)|
24 June 2010: Commission transmits reasoned opinion to Member States who have not yet notified the adoption of all the regulatory changes required by the directive (press release)
See the history of the legislative process leading to the adoption of the services directive.
|12.12.2006||Directive 2006/123/EC - final text|
|15.11.2006||European Parliament’s vote on the services directive|
|24.07.2006||Council position - Text of the common position (430 KB)|
|31.05.2006||Council reaches political agreement|
|04.04.2006||Commission puts forward amended proposal - Press release, text of the amended proposal – COM(2006) 160 final|
|10.02.2005||Opinion of the European and Social Committee (195 kB) on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market.|
|22.10.2004||Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market.|
|07.01.2005||Working document of the Luxembourg Presidency, clarifying the Commission’s proposal|
|11.08.2004||A checklist aiming to correct some myths about the Commission proposal (19 kB)|
|16.07.2004||Explanatory note from the Commission Services on the provisions of the proposed Directive on services in the internal market relating to the assumption of healthcare costs (405 kB)|
|05.07.2004||Proposal for a Directive on services in the Internal Market – Explanatory note from the Commission Services on the provisions relating to the posting of workers (310 kB)|
|25.06.2004||Proposal for a Directive on services in the Internal Market – Explanatory note on the activities covered by the proposal (295 kB)|
|13.01.2004||Proposal for a Directive on services in the Internal Market COM(2004)2 and Extended impact assessment (320 kB)|
|31.07.2002||The state of the internal market for services|
|11.01.2001||The Internal Market Strategy for Services: Commission launches new strategy to dismantle remaining barriers: Press release and Frequently Asked Questions|
Enforcement instrument to the services directive: initiative to modernise the notification procedure for services
The services directive established that national rules restricting the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services falling under the Directive must be non-discriminatory, proportionate and justified by public interest objectives. To ensure that all new regulatory measures imposed by EU countries fulfil these conditions and to prevent new barriers, the Services Directive introduced a procedure whereby EU countries shall notify the Commission of new or changed regulatory measures affecting services. This should allow for an assessment of whether such measures are justified and proportionate.
Experience and assessment of the application of the current notification procedure under the services directive point to a number of difficulties with it. These issues mean that it is not possible to ensure an effective preventive enforcement of the services directive, i.e. ensuring that all new and changed national regulation is non-discriminatory, justified and proportionate, without the Commission having to initiate legal infringement proceedings against already adopted measures.
The single market strategy of 28 October 2015 announced several actions to further develop the single market for services. Improving the delivery of the services directive by reforming the notification procedure is one of these actions.
To develop its policy proposal, the Commission conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation, the results of which are now available.
Evaluation of the implementation
Learn more about the evaluation of the implementation of the services directive by EU countries.
Mapping and assessment of legal and administrative barriers in the services sector (2021)
The study 'Mapping and assessment of removal of legal and administrative barriers in the services sector' assesses the developments in the regulation of services markets and offers an overview of the remaining barriers, notably, but not exclusively, those falling under the Services Directive. The study also clarifies how these barriers have evolved over time.
The report concludes that the overall evolution of services barriers in 2006-2017 can be characterised as a small decrease of the absolute level of barriers, seen in almost all sectors. The overall speed of barrier reduction must, however, be characterised as slow. More reform efforts are needed in order to achieve the overall objective of the Services Directive to remove regulatory and administrative barriers faced by service providers when operating in the single market.
Annexes: Underlying legal reports and data
Economic assessment of the impact of removing barriers in the services sector
Based on the results of the study ‘Mapping and assessment of legal and administrative barriers in the services sector’, an economic analysis was performed to quantify the macroeconomic impact of reforms that took place between 2006 and 2017, as well as to estimate the impact of hypothetical additional reforms aimed at further reducing regulatory restrictions to the provision of services in the single market from 2017 onwards. This analysis concluded that the removal of barriers realised between 2006 and 2017 would result in discounted cumulative gains of 2.1% of GDP by 2027. Additional ambitious reforms could generate an additional growth potential of up to 2.5% of GDP by 2027, resulting in a total cumulative gain in GDP of up to 4.65% by 2027.