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The European Services Directive

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  1. Introduction
  2. A Directive to complete the European aim of an internal market
  3. The first European Services Directive
  4. Conclusion

The European Services Directive has been one of the most controversial projects of European Law. Drafted by the Prodi European Commission in 2004, it became a core issue in the French debate over the European Constitution one year later despite its being juridically quite unrelated to the Treaty. The Directive, nicknamed the ?Bolkestein Directive? in reference of Fritz Bolkestein, the former Commissary for the internal market, has mainly become the scapegoat of the euro-frustration many have been feeling. The main result is that both the European Constitution and the European Services Directive weren't allowed a fair trial and sentenced, by the French and Dutch population for the Treaty, by the French President Jacques Chirac in a useless attempt to save the Treaty for the Directive. In December 2006, an agreement was found between the European Parliament and the Council, and the Directive finally voted, in a surprisingly calm atmosphere considering its history.
What is the meaning of this absence of reaction to this second legislative round ? Can we assume that it is because this second Services Directive is considerably better than the first?

Or does it imply that the original Directive has been milked down to a very limited text, and therefore easier to accept? Could it simply be that the attention span of the European citizens has them overlook an issue that a few months earlier they were passionate about? Such questions will be the guideline of this paper on the European Services Directive. The first part of the paper will be devoted to the European Services Directive as it was first drafted and to the genesis of the project, its aims and its justifications. The second part will deal with the problems the Directive met, the controversy and which changes the new Directive has introduced consequently.

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