What does the EU Services Directive mean for public authorities?
Service providers are free to locate to the Netherlands or temporarily offer services here. They can deal with different authorities via one Point of Single Contact (PSC). Under the Services Directive, every EU member state must have its own PSC. The Directive also sets rules that public authorities must follow. For example, they must ensure that new legislation does not contravene the Directive.
One Point of Single Contact where service providers can organise everything
Under the Services Directive each EU member state must have a Point of Single Contact (PSC) where service providers can deal with different authorities. This means service providers have fewer administrative rules to deal with. The Services Directive also applies to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. So these countries also have their own PSCs.
In the Netherlands the PSC is Answers for Business.
If a business submits a digital application for a licence via the PSC, the application must be dealt with digitally.
Consulting Services Directive legislation digitally
Subnational authorities like municipalities, provinces and water authorities draw up new legislation governing service provision. Or they amend existing legislation. They must make all legislation that is subject to the Services Directive available via the PSC, so that businesses can consult it online.
Checking legislation subject to the Services Directive
Authorities must ensure that new or amended legislation does not contravene the Services Directive.
Notification duty under Services Directive
Often, authorities must notify the European Commission of new or amended legislation via the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Reporting legislation to the Ministry of Economic Affairs
Not all new or amended legislation that falls under the Services Directive must be reported to the European Commission. However, authorities must report all such legislation to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Licensing systems under the Services Directive
The Services Directive also sets criteria for licensing systems. The criteria must be clear and unambiguous, and must be made public in advance.
Service providers are licensed for an indefinite period. They do not have to renew their licence each year.
The fee charged for a licence can only cover costs. The issuing authority cannot make a profit.
Confirmation of receipt of licence applications
Authorities must confirm receipt of a licence application and state when they will take a decision on it. They may extend the time limit once if necessary, for example because an application is complicated.
Services Directive promotes European cooperation
Authorities in the EU can request and exchange information by means of the Internal Market Information System (IMI).
It may be necessary to exchange information. If, for example, an Italien business submits unfamiliar documents when applying for a licence, a Dutch municipality can ask the Italian authority that issued the documents to verify them.
Verification of digital signatures by authorities
Business representatives sometimes have to sign digital documents. To verify foreign digital signatures, authorities can use a Trusted List of certification service providers compiled by the European Commission.