The Services Directive

The Services Directive defines the rules and conditions that apply to entrepreneurs wishing to establish a business or perform temporary services on the EU internal market.

To facilitate freedom of movement throughout the 27 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, member states must eliminate weighty and unnecessary bureaucracy and strengthen consumers' rights.

Sectors covered by the Directive

Examples of services covered by the Services Directive include:

  • Business services (management consultancy, certification and testing etc.)
  • Facilities management, including maintenance and safety
  • Construction, including services of architects
  • Real estate services, such as estate agencies
  • Tourism (services of travel agencies and tour guides)
  • Leisure (services provided by sports centres and amusement parks)
  • Hotels, restaurants and catering
  • Information services (web portals, news agencies and publishing services)
  • Training and continuing training services
  • Hiring and leasing services (e.g. car rental)
  • Household support services

Sectors not covered by the Directive

The Services Directive does not apply to labour law, taxation or criminal law. A number of areas are not covered by the Directive. These include:

  • Services financed mainly through taxes (e.g. social services and healthcare)
  • Services of temporary work agencies
  • Financial services
  • Security services
  • Transport services
  • Certain gambling activities
  • Audio-visual services and radio broadcasts

For more information about what permits you need, please contact our Industry & Trade Secretary.

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