On 15 February 2019, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (EEA EFTA states) submitted a joint EEA EFTA Comment on the European Commission’s proposal for a new notification procedure for national legislation under the scope of the Services Directive. The EEA EFTA States are of the opinion that the present notification procedures under the Services Directive should be improved to enhance the Internal Market for services. This is important as for services falling under the scope of the Services Directive, there are few or no harmonising rules at EU (EEA) level, unlike in the goods area, where an effective notification procedure is already in place.
As a follow up to the Single Market Strategy, COM(2015) 550, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new notification procedure for national legislation under the scope of the Services Directive, COM(2016) 821. The main aim of the proposal is to ensure that Member States notify the Commission and other Member States of draft national legislation, with a standstill regarding adoption, giving the opportunity to submit comments on the draft.
The present notification procedure under the Services Directive 2006/123 does not function to this end. The interinstitutional negotiations of the proposal are in a critical phase in the EU. In this Comment, the EEA EFTA States underline how important for growth, jobs and consumers it is that a new and improved notification procedure is adopted. If needed, with a view to finding a compromise, the reference to a “Decision” in Article 15(7) second paragraph of the Services Directive could be deleted or amended. This view is subject to no other provision of the Services Directive being opened for discussion.
One of the ways in which the EEA EFTA States participate in shaping EU legislation is by submitting comments on important policy issues. A typical EEA EFTA Comment provides brief commentary and suggestions regarding Commission initiatives such as green papers or legislative proposals. The comments are endorsed by the Standing Committee of the EFTA States and officially noted by the EEA Joint Committee, after they have been sent to the relevant services in the Commission, the European Parliament and/or the Council.
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