BETA


2006/2137(INI) Follow-up to the report on competition in professional services

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead ECON EHLER Christian (icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE)
Committee Opinion IMCO
Committee Opinion JURI
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 052

Events

2006/12/14
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2006/11/23
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2006/10/12
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2006/10/12
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report by Jan Christian EHLER (EPP-ED, DE) in reaction to the Commission’s latest communication on competition in professional services. The resolution was passed by 534 votes in favour, 62 against and 9 abstentions. It welcomed the dialogue between the Commission, the Member States and the professional bodies of professional services providers aimed at dismantling barriers to competition which were unjustified and rules which were against the interests of consumers. However, Parliament felt that the Commission had failed to address the consequences of a systematic pro-competitive reform of the sector of professional services as regards job creation and additional growth. The fundamental priority of the reform should be to provide broader and easier access for consumers, while at the same time ensuring the quality and cost-efficiency of the services.

Acknowledging the right to issue regulations based on traditional, geographic and demographic specificities, Parliament emphasised that rules should be chosen which restrict competition as little as possible and that, within the existing system, substantive reform processes must be pursued in order to help attain the Lisbon targets. The mandatory nature of fixed or minimum rates and the ban on negotiating fees based on the result achieved might be detrimental to the quality of service to the public and to competition. Member States must overcome these constraints with measures which are less restrictive and more likely to comply with the principles of non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality.

Parliament went on to make the following observations:

- in order to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and increase the capacity for innovation restrictions on the scope for cooperation should be eliminated and the setting up of inter-professional service providers be facilitated;

- special regulations in the field of advertising could be largely dispensed with, and the continuity of such regulations should be limited to duly justified exceptional cases. The reduction of regulation should be aimed at enabling professionals to inform users of the services they offer via advertising, providing consumers with information on their professional qualifications and specialisations, and on the nature and cost of the services offered;

- the Commission should broaden the scope of its analysis as regards the subdivision of regulatory protection by category of consumer group by looking more closely at small and medium-sized undertakings;

Lastly, Parliament pointed out that the subdivision of regulatory protection according to individual categories of consumer overlooked the fact that rules derived their legitimacy from the fact that externalities may appear in the provision of professional services and that certain professional services may be deemed to be public goods.

Documents
2006/10/12
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2006/10/11
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2006/09/14
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2006/09/14
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2006/09/12
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The committee adopted the own-initiative report drawn up by Jan Christian EHLER (EPP-ED, DE) in response to the Commission communication on the follow-up to the report on competition in professional services. The committee welcomed the dialogue between the Commission, the Member States and professional bodies aimed at dismantling unjustified or harmful barriers to competition in professional services and rules which are against the interests of consumers and ultimately of the providers themselves.

The report said that effective and transparent self-regulation of services can be "an appropriate means of meeting the requirements of the Lisbon Strategy", but that Member States should ensure it does not damage consumer interests. The committee supported the adoption of codes of conduct by professional service providers.

MEPs wanted restrictions on advertising by professionals to be largely dispensed with, limited only to "duly justified exceptional cases".

The report urged the Commission to examine more carefully the expected impact of the full removal of unnecessary obstacles to competition, including on sectors that have limited resources or that are restricted to certain regions. Finally, it raised the issue of subdividing regulatory protection by category of consumer group, suggesting this may need further analysis.

2006/07/05
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2006/06/15
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2006/06/02
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2005/10/25
   EP - EHLER Christian (PPE-DE) appointed as rapporteur in ECON
2005/09/05
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2005/09/05
   EC - Non-legislative basic document published
Details

PURPOSE : to present a f ollow-up the Report on Competition in Professional Services, and report on unjustified restrictions.

CONTENT : p rofessional services are a key sector of the European economy and are entrusted with the delivery of services of considerable public importance. Figures for 2001 show that ‘business services’ generated approximately 8% of total turnover of the EU. The sector is characterised by high levels of regulation. This is often a mix of State regulation, self-regulation and custom and practice, which has evolved over a number of years. The Commission’s work in the area of the professional services has been targeted at examining whether the current regulatory mix is the most efficient and least restrictive of competition, or whether better regulation, more adapted to the modern world could help spur economic growth, and deliver better services and value for consumers.

The Commission published a Report on Competition in Professional Services in February 2004 and suggested that a proportionality test should be used to assess to what extent anti-competitive professional regulations and rules truly serve the public interest and can be objectively justified. This Communication reports on progress in the review and removal of such unjustified restrictions by Member States using the detailed analysis contained in the Commission staff working document annexed to the Communication. (Please see SEC(2005)0164).

The Commission looks at reasons why some targeted regulation might be necessary and who benefits from it. The report describes activities by the Commission and national competition authorities, as well as progress made by Member States in reviewing and eliminating disproportionate restrictions in legislation and the rules and regulations of professional bodies. O ver a third (9 in total) of Member States report that analytical work is underway, which it is hoped will lead to substantive reform in the near future. Six other countries report that minor reforms have been made e.g. a slight easing of qualitative entry qualifications.

The key conclusion is that more urgency by the majority of Member States to bring about systematic pro-competitive reform in this sector would bring about significant economic and consumer benefits. In practical terms, this means Member States taking ‘political ownership’ of this work at national level to drive forward the reform process. The weight of tradition should not be underestimated as affecting the pace of change, and in many countries regulators fail to see how things can be done differently.

Moreover, the professions themselves have in general not been actively promoting it. The current picture could also indicate that some countries have relatively weak regulatory oversight of the professions. This could be caused by the economic phenomenon of regulatory capture, which is not uncommon especially in areas subject to self-regulation. The Commission recognises that it is the Member States’ prerogative to determine to what extent they want to regulate the professions directly by State regulation, or to leave the matter to self-regulation by professional bodies. However, good governance would require that Member States oversee the impact of national self-regulation to guard against it becoming overly restrictive and detrimental to customers’ interests.

The Commission remains fully committed to bringing about wide scale reform to this sector and encourages Member States to take the initiative to drive forward reform at national level. It is up to national regulatory authorities and professional bodies to bring about change having due regard to the specificities of the relevant profession in each country. Experience shows that such a process will not start without strong political backing.

As a start Member States should initiate analytical work to review existing restrictions. A first stage of this could be to identify those restrictions on competition, which can be removed quickly without further analysis being necessary e.g. certain fixed and recommended prices, and certain advertising restrictions. At the same time, more substantial structural analysis should begin – for example of regulatory structures - to assess the need and open the way for wider reforms. This would enable Member States to make good progress by 2010. The Commission’s further refinement of its economic analysis of the different markets for professional services, leads the Commission to the conclusion that consumers and one-off users may have a greater need of some carefully targeted regulatory protection. However, the main users of professional services – business and the public sector – may have no, or only very limited, need of regulatory protection. The position with respect to small business users is not entirely clear and further work is required to assess their specific needs. The current regulatory set-up is unsatisfactory for these two latter groups given its lack of flexibility and hinders the development of innovative and demand-driven services.

The Commission will continue to act as a facilitator in this exercise, helping to spread best practice. It will increase partnership working with national competition authorities, who have already started some promising work, so that they take even greater ownership to progress this at national level. It will also continue and improve its relations with national regulatory authorities by organising a more structured debate and raising the profile of this work with them. This will pave the way for greater co-operation between national competition authorities and regulatory authorities.

Finally, the Commission will consider taking further appropriate enforcement action using the EC competition rules, including the option of intervening under Article 86 if possible and necessary.

Documents

Activities

Votes

Rapport Ehler A6-0272/2006 - am. 1

2006/10/12 Outcome: +: 317, -: 236, 0: 51
DE PL AT IE EL SK CZ IT LV MT CY LU BE SI NL HU PT DK ES GB LT FI EE FR SE
Total
87
48
16
12
11
13
23
57
6
5
6
6
21
5
23
20
22
12
40
63
12
11
6
62
17
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
226

Latvia PPE-DE

2

Malta PPE-DE

2

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Slovenia PPE-DE

3

Denmark PPE-DE

For (1)

1
2
4

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
35

Austria Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

Italy Verts/ALE

2

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Spain Verts/ALE

2

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

3

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: NI NI
24

Austria NI

1

Slovakia NI

Abstain (2)

3

Czechia NI

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom NI

For (1)

3
icon: UEN UEN
23

Ireland UEN

Abstain (1)

4

Denmark UEN

For (1)

1

Lithuania UEN

2
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
21

Ireland IND/DEM

For (1)

1

Czechia IND/DEM

1

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Denmark IND/DEM

1

United Kingdom IND/DEM

5

France IND/DEM

2

Sweden IND/DEM

2
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
32

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

Netherlands GUE/NGL

2

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Spain GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

France GUE/NGL

2

Sweden GUE/NGL

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
71

Austria ALDE

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1

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1

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1

Cyprus ALDE

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1

Luxembourg ALDE

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1

Slovenia ALDE

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1

Hungary ALDE

2

Denmark ALDE

For (1)

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Abstain (1)

3

Spain ALDE

Against (1)

1
3

Estonia ALDE

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2

Sweden ALDE

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1
icon: PSE PSE
172

Ireland PSE

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1

Greece PSE

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3

Slovakia PSE

2

Czechia PSE

2

Luxembourg PSE

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1

Slovenia PSE

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1

Lithuania PSE

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1

Finland PSE

2

Estonia PSE

3

Rapport Ehler A6-0272/2006 - am. 2/1

2006/10/12 Outcome: +: 319, -: 254, 0: 31
FR GB BE DK ES IT SE HU NL LT EE PT FI LU AT MT LV IE SI PL CY SK EL CZ DE
Total
65
62
22
12
40
59
17
20
23
12
6
22
11
5
16
5
6
12
5
48
6
11
11
22
86
icon: PSE PSE
174

Lithuania PSE

For (1)

1

Estonia PSE

3

Finland PSE

2

Luxembourg PSE

For (1)

1

Ireland PSE

1

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Slovakia PSE

2

Greece PSE

Against (1)

3

Czechia PSE

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
72

Denmark ALDE

3

Spain ALDE

1

Sweden ALDE

For (1)

1
2

Estonia ALDE

2

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Austria ALDE

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Slovenia ALDE

1

Cyprus ALDE

For (1)

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
35

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Italy Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Netherlands Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

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1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

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1
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
20

France IND/DEM

2

United Kingdom IND/DEM

4

Denmark IND/DEM

1

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2

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Ireland IND/DEM

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1

Czechia IND/DEM

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1
icon: NI NI
26

United Kingdom NI

Against (2)

Abstain (1)

3

Austria NI

1

Slovakia NI

1

Czechia NI

Against (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
31

France GUE/NGL

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2

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1

Sweden GUE/NGL

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2

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2

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3

Finland GUE/NGL

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1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: UEN UEN
21

Denmark UEN

Abstain (1)

1

Lithuania UEN

2

Latvia UEN

Against (1)

2

Ireland UEN

Against (1)

4
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
225

Denmark PPE-DE

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1

Lithuania PPE-DE

2

Estonia PPE-DE

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1

Luxembourg PPE-DE

2

Malta PPE-DE

Against (2)

2

Latvia PPE-DE

2

Ireland PPE-DE

For (1)

5

Slovenia PPE-DE

3

Rapport Ehler A6-0272/2006 - am. 2/2

2006/10/12 Outcome: -: 373, +: 216, 0: 8
PT DK SE CY FR BE EE SI LU MT ES LV CZ FI SK NL IT AT IE LT EL HU GB DE PL
Total
22
12
17
6
65
20
6
4
4
5
40
6
23
11
11
23
57
16
12
11
11
18
62
85
50
icon: PSE PSE
169

Estonia PSE

Against (1)

3

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Malta PSE

For (1)

3

Czechia PSE

For (1)

Against (1)

2

Finland PSE

Against (1)

2

Slovakia PSE

2

Ireland PSE

1

Lithuania PSE

For (1)

1

Greece PSE

3
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
32

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

2

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

France GUE/NGL

2

Spain GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

Against (1)

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
35

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Netherlands Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

Italy Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

3
icon: NI NI
25

Belgium NI

2

Czechia NI

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1

Slovakia NI

1

Italy NI

For (1)

4

Austria NI

1

United Kingdom NI

Against (2)

Abstain (1)

3
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
20

Denmark IND/DEM

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1

Sweden IND/DEM

2

France IND/DEM

2

Czechia IND/DEM

1

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Ireland IND/DEM

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom IND/DEM

4
icon: UEN UEN
23

Denmark UEN

Against (1)

1

Latvia UEN

2

Lithuania UEN

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
71

Denmark ALDE

3

Sweden ALDE

For (1)

1

Cyprus ALDE

Against (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

Against (2)

2

Slovenia ALDE

Against (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

Against (1)

1

Spain ALDE

Against (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

Against (1)

1
3

Austria ALDE

Against (1)

1

Ireland ALDE

Abstain (1)

1

Hungary ALDE

2

Germany ALDE

Against (1)

3
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
222

Denmark PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Estonia PPE-DE

Against (1)

1

Slovenia PPE-DE

2

Luxembourg PPE-DE

2

Malta PPE-DE

Against (2)

2

Latvia PPE-DE

2

Lithuania PPE-DE

2

Rapport Ehler A6-0272/2006 - résolution

2006/10/12 Outcome: +: 534, -: 62, 0: 9
DE GB FR PL ES IT HU NL BE AT PT DK IE SK LT SE EL FI CZ LV EE SI LU MT CY
Total
88
63
66
49
40
58
19
23
21
16
21
12
12
13
11
17
10
11
21
6
6
5
6
5
6
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
224

Denmark PPE-DE

For (1)

1
2

Latvia PPE-DE

2

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Slovenia PPE-DE

3

Luxembourg PPE-DE

Abstain (1)

3

Malta PPE-DE

2
icon: PSE PSE
172

Ireland PSE

1

Slovakia PSE

2

Lithuania PSE

For (1)

1

Greece PSE

2

Finland PSE

2

Czechia PSE

2

Estonia PSE

3

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PSE

For (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
70

Spain ALDE

1
2

Austria ALDE

1

Denmark ALDE

3

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Sweden ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Estonia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Cyprus ALDE

For (1)

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
34

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

For (1)

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

3

Spain Verts/ALE

1

Italy Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

2

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Sweden Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: UEN UEN
23

Denmark UEN

For (1)

1

Lithuania UEN

2
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
21

United Kingdom IND/DEM

5

France IND/DEM

2

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Denmark IND/DEM

1

Ireland IND/DEM

For (1)

1

Sweden IND/DEM

2

Czechia IND/DEM

Abstain (1)

1
icon: NI NI
29

United Kingdom NI

For (1)

3

Italy NI

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

4

Belgium NI

3

Austria NI

1

Slovakia NI

Abstain (1)

3

Czechia NI

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
32

France GUE/NGL

2

Spain GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

2

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

2

Finland GUE/NGL

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1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

committees/0
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Economic and Monetary Affairs
committee
ECON
rapporteur
name: EHLER Christian date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 group: European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats abbr: PPE-DE
committees/0
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Economic and Monetary Affairs
committee
ECON
date
2005-10-25T00:00:00
rapporteur
name: EHLER Christian group: European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats abbr: PPE-DE
docs/3/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-6-2006-0272_EN.html
docs/4/body
EC
docs/5/body
EC
events/0/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf
events/3/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-6-2006-0272_EN.html
events/6/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2006-418
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-6-2006-0418_EN.html
activities
  • date: 2005-09-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf title: COM(2005)0405 type: Non-legislative basic document published celexid: CELEX:52005DC0405:EN body: EC commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/competition/ title: Competition Commissioner: KROES Neelie type: Non-legislative basic document published
  • date: 2006-06-15T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
  • date: 2006-09-12T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2006-09-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0272/2006 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2006-10-11T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20061011&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2006-10-12T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=12606&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2006-418 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0418/2006 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
commission
  • body: EC dg: Competition commissioner: KROES Neelie
committees/0
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Economic and Monetary Affairs
committee
ECON
date
2005-10-25T00:00:00
rapporteur
name: EHLER Christian group: European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats abbr: PPE-DE
committees/0
body
EP
responsible
True
committee
ECON
date
2005-10-25T00:00:00
committee_full
Economic and Monetary Affairs
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group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian
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Committee Opinion
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EP
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committee_full
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
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IMCO
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Internal Market and Consumer Protection
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Committee Opinion
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Legal Affairs
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Legal Affairs
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docs
  • date: 2005-09-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/sec/2005/1064/COM_SEC(2005)1064_EN.pdf title: SEC(2005)1064 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=SECfinal&an_doc=2005&nu_doc=1064 title: EUR-Lex type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
  • date: 2006-06-02T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE374.348 title: PE374.348 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2006-07-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE376.416 title: PE376.416 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2006-09-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN title: A6-0272/2006 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP
  • date: 2006-11-23T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=12606&j=0&l=en title: SP(2006)5316-2 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
  • date: 2006-12-14T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=12606&j=1&l=en title: SP(2006)5318-2 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2005-09-05T00:00:00 type: Non-legislative basic document published body: EC docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf title: COM(2005)0405 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2005&nu_doc=405 title: EUR-Lex summary: PURPOSE : to present a f ollow-up the Report on Competition in Professional Services, and report on unjustified restrictions. CONTENT : p rofessional services are a key sector of the European economy and are entrusted with the delivery of services of considerable public importance. Figures for 2001 show that ‘business services’ generated approximately 8% of total turnover of the EU. The sector is characterised by high levels of regulation. This is often a mix of State regulation, self-regulation and custom and practice, which has evolved over a number of years. The Commission’s work in the area of the professional services has been targeted at examining whether the current regulatory mix is the most efficient and least restrictive of competition, or whether better regulation, more adapted to the modern world could help spur economic growth, and deliver better services and value for consumers. The Commission published a Report on Competition in Professional Services in February 2004 and suggested that a proportionality test should be used to assess to what extent anti-competitive professional regulations and rules truly serve the public interest and can be objectively justified. This Communication reports on progress in the review and removal of such unjustified restrictions by Member States using the detailed analysis contained in the Commission staff working document annexed to the Communication. (Please see SEC(2005)0164). The Commission looks at reasons why some targeted regulation might be necessary and who benefits from it. The report describes activities by the Commission and national competition authorities, as well as progress made by Member States in reviewing and eliminating disproportionate restrictions in legislation and the rules and regulations of professional bodies. O ver a third (9 in total) of Member States report that analytical work is underway, which it is hoped will lead to substantive reform in the near future. Six other countries report that minor reforms have been made e.g. a slight easing of qualitative entry qualifications. The key conclusion is that more urgency by the majority of Member States to bring about systematic pro-competitive reform in this sector would bring about significant economic and consumer benefits. In practical terms, this means Member States taking ‘political ownership’ of this work at national level to drive forward the reform process. The weight of tradition should not be underestimated as affecting the pace of change, and in many countries regulators fail to see how things can be done differently. Moreover, the professions themselves have in general not been actively promoting it. The current picture could also indicate that some countries have relatively weak regulatory oversight of the professions. This could be caused by the economic phenomenon of regulatory capture, which is not uncommon especially in areas subject to self-regulation. The Commission recognises that it is the Member States’ prerogative to determine to what extent they want to regulate the professions directly by State regulation, or to leave the matter to self-regulation by professional bodies. However, good governance would require that Member States oversee the impact of national self-regulation to guard against it becoming overly restrictive and detrimental to customers’ interests. The Commission remains fully committed to bringing about wide scale reform to this sector and encourages Member States to take the initiative to drive forward reform at national level. It is up to national regulatory authorities and professional bodies to bring about change having due regard to the specificities of the relevant profession in each country. Experience shows that such a process will not start without strong political backing. As a start Member States should initiate analytical work to review existing restrictions. A first stage of this could be to identify those restrictions on competition, which can be removed quickly without further analysis being necessary e.g. certain fixed and recommended prices, and certain advertising restrictions. At the same time, more substantial structural analysis should begin – for example of regulatory structures - to assess the need and open the way for wider reforms. This would enable Member States to make good progress by 2010. The Commission’s further refinement of its economic analysis of the different markets for professional services, leads the Commission to the conclusion that consumers and one-off users may have a greater need of some carefully targeted regulatory protection. However, the main users of professional services – business and the public sector – may have no, or only very limited, need of regulatory protection. The position with respect to small business users is not entirely clear and further work is required to assess their specific needs. The current regulatory set-up is unsatisfactory for these two latter groups given its lack of flexibility and hinders the development of innovative and demand-driven services. The Commission will continue to act as a facilitator in this exercise, helping to spread best practice. It will increase partnership working with national competition authorities, who have already started some promising work, so that they take even greater ownership to progress this at national level. It will also continue and improve its relations with national regulatory authorities by organising a more structured debate and raising the profile of this work with them. This will pave the way for greater co-operation between national competition authorities and regulatory authorities. Finally, the Commission will consider taking further appropriate enforcement action using the EC competition rules, including the option of intervening under Article 86 if possible and necessary.
  • date: 2006-06-15T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2006-09-12T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP summary: The committee adopted the own-initiative report drawn up by Jan Christian EHLER (EPP-ED, DE) in response to the Commission communication on the follow-up to the report on competition in professional services. The committee welcomed the dialogue between the Commission, the Member States and professional bodies aimed at dismantling unjustified or harmful barriers to competition in professional services and rules which are against the interests of consumers and ultimately of the providers themselves. The report said that effective and transparent self-regulation of services can be "an appropriate means of meeting the requirements of the Lisbon Strategy", but that Member States should ensure it does not damage consumer interests. The committee supported the adoption of codes of conduct by professional service providers. MEPs wanted restrictions on advertising by professionals to be largely dispensed with, limited only to "duly justified exceptional cases". The report urged the Commission to examine more carefully the expected impact of the full removal of unnecessary obstacles to competition, including on sectors that have limited resources or that are restricted to certain regions. Finally, it raised the issue of subdividing regulatory protection by category of consumer group, suggesting this may need further analysis.
  • date: 2006-09-14T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN title: A6-0272/2006
  • date: 2006-10-11T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20061011&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2006-10-12T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=12606&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2006-10-12T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2006-418 title: T6-0418/2006 summary: The European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report by Jan Christian EHLER (EPP-ED, DE) in reaction to the Commission’s latest communication on competition in professional services. The resolution was passed by 534 votes in favour, 62 against and 9 abstentions. It welcomed the dialogue between the Commission, the Member States and the professional bodies of professional services providers aimed at dismantling barriers to competition which were unjustified and rules which were against the interests of consumers. However, Parliament felt that the Commission had failed to address the consequences of a systematic pro-competitive reform of the sector of professional services as regards job creation and additional growth. The fundamental priority of the reform should be to provide broader and easier access for consumers, while at the same time ensuring the quality and cost-efficiency of the services. Acknowledging the right to issue regulations based on traditional, geographic and demographic specificities, Parliament emphasised that rules should be chosen which restrict competition as little as possible and that, within the existing system, substantive reform processes must be pursued in order to help attain the Lisbon targets. The mandatory nature of fixed or minimum rates and the ban on negotiating fees based on the result achieved might be detrimental to the quality of service to the public and to competition. Member States must overcome these constraints with measures which are less restrictive and more likely to comply with the principles of non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality. Parliament went on to make the following observations: - in order to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and increase the capacity for innovation restrictions on the scope for cooperation should be eliminated and the setting up of inter-professional service providers be facilitated; - special regulations in the field of advertising could be largely dispensed with, and the continuity of such regulations should be limited to duly justified exceptional cases. The reduction of regulation should be aimed at enabling professionals to inform users of the services they offer via advertising, providing consumers with information on their professional qualifications and specialisations, and on the nature and cost of the services offered; - the Commission should broaden the scope of its analysis as regards the subdivision of regulatory protection by category of consumer group by looking more closely at small and medium-sized undertakings; Lastly, Parliament pointed out that the subdivision of regulatory protection according to individual categories of consumer overlooked the fact that rules derived their legitimacy from the fact that externalities may appear in the provision of professional services and that certain professional services may be deemed to be public goods.
  • date: 2006-10-12T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/competition/ title: Competition commissioner: KROES Neelie
procedure/dossier_of_the_committee
Old
ECON/6/31378
New
  • ECON/6/31378
procedure/legal_basis/0
Rules of Procedure EP 052
procedure/legal_basis/0
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052
procedure/subject
Old
  • 2.40 Free movement of services, freedom to provide
  • 2.60 Competition
New
2.40
Free movement of services, freedom to provide
2.60
Competition
3.45.06
Entrepreneurship, liberal professions
procedure/title
Old
Follow-up to the Report on Competition in Professional Services, COM(2004)0083
New
Follow-up to the report on competition in professional services
activities/0/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf
activities
  • date: 2005-09-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2005/0405/COM_COM(2005)0405_EN.pdf celexid: CELEX:52005DC0405:EN type: Non-legislative basic document published title: COM(2005)0405 type: Non-legislative basic document published body: EC commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/competition/ title: Competition Commissioner: KROES Neelie
  • date: 2006-06-15T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
  • date: 2006-09-12T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2006-09-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2006-272&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0272/2006 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2006-10-11T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20061011&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2006-10-12T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=12606&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2006-418 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0418/2006 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
committees
  • body: EP responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2005-10-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: EHLER Christian
  • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO
  • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/competition/ title: Competition commissioner: KROES Neelie
procedure
dossier_of_the_committee
ECON/6/31378
reference
2006/2137(INI)
title
Follow-up to the Report on Competition in Professional Services, COM(2004)0083
legal_basis
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052
stage_reached
Procedure completed
subtype
Initiative
type
INI - Own-initiative procedure
subject