Directive Territorial Scope

Directive Territorial Scope in Europe

The Directive territorial scope in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following is an examination of the directive territorial scope regarding the European Union Servicies Directive [1]:

The Directive territorial scope: Authorisation schemes and procedures

Authorisations which are not granted for the whole territory of a Member State but for a specific part only are likely to hinder the exercise of service activities and to constitute an additional burden on service providers. In most cases, there is no need to limit the territorial scope of the authorisation if a service provider has been granted an authorisation and is thus allowed to exercise his activity in the Member State. That is why Article 10(4) provides that authorisations shall generally enable the provider to have access to the service activity or to the exercise of that activity throughout the national territory, for instance by means of setting up branches or offices.

More Details about the Directive territorial scope


Member States may limit the territorial scope of authorisations in cases in which individual authorisations for each establishment or a limitation of the authorisation to a certain part of the territory are justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest, are proportionate and non-discriminatory. Individual authorisations for each establishment will normally be justified in cases where the authorisation is linked to a physical infrastructure (for example a shop) because an individual assessment of each installation in question may be necessary.

If, in a Member State, the granting of an authorisation for a given activity is within the remit of regional or local authorities, the Directive does not require Member States to change this. However, the mere fact that the competence to grant authorisations lies with local or regional authorities is not in itself a valid reason justifying a territorial limitation of the validity of the authorisations.

Rather, once an authorisation has been granted by the competent regional or local authority (for example of the place where the provider sets up his establishment), the authorisation will, in principle, have to be recognised by all other authorities of the Member State. Thus, subject to justified exceptions, an authorised provider may not be required to obtain another authorisation by a different authority if he wishes to exercise his activity throughout the whole territory. For example, an operator providing debt recovery services which has been authorised to exercise his activity by one competent local authority may not be subject, in principle, to additional authorisation schemes by other local authorities in the same Member State67.

Again, Member States should consider adopting this principle (and likewise the ones below, i.e. The requirements relating to the limitation of the number of authorisations, the obligation to state reasons and the right of appeal as well as the requirements for authorisation procedures) in their horizontal framework legislation implementing the Directive. Alternatively, it could be included in national legislation dealing with administrative proceedings.



  1. Information on the directive territorial scope based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government

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