DUBLIN: Ireland is joining with three other small European Union members to carry out a study of the potential economic benefits of closer integration of the single market for services.
The Government has teamed Ireland up with Denmark, Finland and the Czech Republic to examine the benefits of greater liberalisation in cross-border service provision.
A briefing note provided to the parliament in 2016 noted that further integration of services would bring about significant economic gains, but that many obstacles to greater integration persist, including differing regulation of services across member states, such as the rules to recognise lawyers or pharmacists.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin said that the single market aims to confer on European businesses and citizens the benefits of four freedoms – free movement of goods, services, capital, and people.
But it added that even after 25 years, there is still work to be done on fully realising free movement of services.
Indeed, some evidence suggests that it may be easier for EU companies to buy or sell services with third countries under these FTAs, than to trade in services with another EU member state.”
The department also said that, while there have been previous studies which have sought to demonstrate the economic benefits that can flow from a greater liberalisation in cross-border service provision within the EU, the existing evidence has not so far been persuasive in bringing about a far greater level of freedom in the EU services market.
“Many restrictions, both administrative and, more significantly, regulatory, remain,” the department noted.
“Yet, on the other hand, the EU is seeking to make progress in meeting the competitiveness challenge across a suite of crucial emerging policy domains – including most notably digital, innovation, manufacturing, and industrial strategy.”