Following an invitation of the S&D IMCO working group, Philippe Arraou, President of ETAF, participated in a lively debate on the Commissions’ proposal for a European Services e-Card at the European Parliament.
Mr. Arraou made clear that ETAF members strongly favor a deepening of the Single Market and support cross-border provision of business services, which are the main objectives of the proposed Services Package. Nevertheless, he pointed out some major concerns that were raised by ETAF members: The deadlines for the host Member States, for example, being too short to comprehensively examine an application for both temporary cross-border services and permanent establishment.
In addition, Mr. Arraou pointed at the fact that the proposal allows for a risk that service providers who do not fulfil the respective professional qualifications would have to be accepted by the host Member State, after exceeding these deadlines.
MEP Nicola Danti, Vice-Chair of the IMCO Committee and S&D Coordinator, in this regard, also uttered his concern about the introduction of the country-of-origin principle, while MEP Virginie Rozière, S&D Shadow Rapporteur for the Services e-Card, urged the Commission to focus on the implementation of existing provisions rather than introducing new measures.
Robert Strauss, Head of Unit “Service Policy for Consumers” at DG GROW, conceded that the Services Directive had not been implemented to its full potential, which posed an obstacle to service providers and prohibited cross-border investments.
He stated that a Services e-Card would simplify the administration for cross-border service providers and increase trust. Finally, Mr. Strauss insisted on the fact that the application for a European Services e-Card would be a voluntary act for any enterprise.