With the D.lgs 59/2010 Italy implemented the Services Directive ( CE/2006/123) adopted by the EU to overcome the juridical obstacles to the freedom of establishment of European providers and to the free movement of services within the Member States
What is a service?
A service is any self-employed economic activity provided for remuneration, aimed at the exchange of goods and at the provision of services. It covers a wide range of services, such as: intellectual ( i.e. the distribution of electronic goods, books, music download), recreational ( i.e. services provided by sport centres, amusement parks, restaurants…), rental services, construction services, real estate services….
Some services are excluded from the application of the Directive, in particular: services of general economic interest ( postal service, water, gas and energy supply…), financial services, gambling, private security services, health and pharmaceutical services provided by health professionals to patients where those activities are reserved to a regulated health profession in the Member state where the services are provided.
A service provider is any natural person who is a national of a Member State or any legal person engaged in a service activity in a Member State, in exercise both of the freedom of establishment and of the free movement of services.
Which benefits for consumers?
The Directive aims at strengthening services users’ protection. Users can be either consumers or businesses. The Directive imposes to Member states to:
- remove all obstacles for people who wish to use services in another State, for example the obligation of having an authorization;
- eliminate discriminatory conditions based on nationality or residence of the recipients. This non discriminatory obligation shall be respected both by public administrations and service providers;
- provide recipients with the general information about providers and offered services and with the information about the applicable law, in particular about consumer’s protection and redress means in case of dispute. In every Member State there is, in fact, a public body aimed at providing information and assistance both to consumers and to service providers.