Directive on services in the internal market

Directive On Services In The Internal Market

EU Legislation
EU Legislation Less

Directive on services in the internal market

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The Directive on services in the internal market (commonly referred to as the Bolkestein Directive) is an EU law aiming at establishing a single market for services within the European Union (EU). Drafted under the leadership of the former European Commissioner for the Internal Market Frits Bolkestein, it has been popularly referred to by his name. It was seen as an important kick-start to the Lisbon Agenda which, launched in 2000, was an agreed strategy to make the EU "the world's most dynamic and competitive economy" by 2010.

The Bolkestein Directive was harshly criticised by left-wing European politicians, who stated that it would lead to competition between workers in different parts of Europe — hence the expression "Polish plumber" — resulting in social dumping. The proposal, after the 2004 original draft had been substantially amended, was approved on 12 December 2006 by the European Parliament and Council, and adopted as the Directive 2006/123/EC.


2004 original proposal: the three pillars

Devised by the European Commission in 2004, the first draft of the Services Directive propounded several important changes in the EU services market.

Country of origin

However, this would have not applied to the professional rules (where according to the Directive on the Recognition of Diplomas, the rules of the country where the services are provided apply), nor - contrary to popular belief (fearing for example that a Polish Plumber could work...
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