The Services E-Card Proposal – Pros and Contras

After the European Parliament in February 2016 approved the EC’s intention to launch a legislative initiative introducing a `services passport’ aiming to enhance cooperation between home and host Member States and help service-providers operating across borders, DG GROW (lead by Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska), made a public consultation on this purpose and presented in January 2017 the proposal for a regulation of EP and Council for the introduction of a Services E-Card.

The proposal included many very positive aspects for small service companies in Europe that would get in such way a cheaper and easier access to the Single Market. Nonetheless it has also raised objections from Member States, certain economic sectors, trade unions and political parties.

European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME and ESBA hosted a lunch debate on the possibilities and difficulties related to the EU-Commission’s proposal. The event took place on the 20th March 2018 at the European Parliament and was attended by more than 40 people.

It opened with the keynote speech of MEP Arne Gericke (ECR/Freie Wähler, Germany), Member of SME Europe and Member of the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee of the European Parliament. Mr Gericke highlighted both the opportunities that such new instrument would provide but also some of the difficulties that setting it up would entail.

His remarks started the debate and were followed by reflections provided by his fellow MEPs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP/Moderata samlingspartiet, Sweden), Vice-Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, and Dariusz Rosati (EPP/Platforma Obywatelska, Poland), Member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee.

Both discussants emphasised the benefits of using the e-services card to cut down bureaucracy and make it easier for companies to provide services across the EU Single Market.
Then it was the turn of Deputy Director General of DG GROW, Ms. Irmfried Schwimann, to explain the proposal and advocate for its approval.
At this point representatives of SMEs and entrepreneurs had occasion to offer their thoughts on the subject, which made up for a lively debate that delved in the details of different aspects of the proposal. The event concluded with a networking lunch.

If you are interested to follow the ongoing discussion on the Services E-Card, you can find more info in the European Commission's Press Release and in the Proposal of the European Parliament.

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