Removing Barriers to Trade in Services in the Single Market with the Help of the Services Directive – Assessment of the Recent Case Law of the Court of Justice



The main objective of the Services Directive was to remove barriers to trade in services within the Single Market of the European Union. The achievement of this objective still remains an unfulfilled promise according to the Commission, the Member States, and other stakeholders. As was previously raised in the literature, this may be derived mainly from the legislative shortcomings of the Services Directive. In this paper, the author assesses how the Court of Justice of the European Union has contributed to the fulfilment of this aim, during the 14 years since its adoption, in a practical way – through responding to preliminary questions and issuing rulings on the ground of the Commission’s enforcement activity. The analysis covers the delimitation between the regimes for the protection of the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services, the forms of restrictions and the potential justification grounds, as interpreted by the Court in its judicial practice.


barriersthe Services DirectiveSingle Marketfreedom of establishmentfreedom to provide servicesoverriding reasons related to public interest
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 57–75
  • DOI: 10.36633/ulr.718
  • Published on 5 May 2022
  • Peer Reviewed