The Amended Proposal for a Directive on Services in the Internal Market and its Potential Impact on the Irish Tourism Industry
Document Type Article
International Travel Law Journal, No.1, 2007
The European Union Services Directive, Directive 2006/123, was very controversial. The popular press focused on that aspect of the Directive which would have allowed employers to comply with the 'home' regulations when offering services in an EU 'host' country. For example, a cleaning service could employ Polish workers to clean Irish offices and paid them according to Polish minimum wage laws. As a result of the controversy, this aspect of the Directive was dropped. The controversy deflected attention from the broader impact of the Services Directive. The Directive, as ultimately adopted, will require member states to conduct an 'audit' of all rules and national regulations impacting on cross-border provision of services. Some will have to be eliminated as a potential violation of the Directive (e.g., the requirement of a physical office in the host member state). Other regulations will have to be defended as necessary and proportionate to the pursuit of a legitimate aim. In addition, member states will have to streamline and simplify the procedures by which one obtains permission to provide services across borders into the host member state. This will require the establishment of a central facility through which all necessary information can be obtained. It must be possible to do this online. The Services Directive will have a major impact on the Irish tourism industry, one of the largest industries in Ireland. This industry is rife with protectionist rules and regulations, and lacks the transparency required under the Directive. This article examines this overlooked aspect of the impact of the Services Directive.