Mutual Assistance in Europe
Mutual assistance in relation to the E.U. Services Directive
The following is an examination of mutual assistance regarding the European Union Servicies Directive :
Mutual assistance: Basic features
Articles 28 to 36 legally oblige Member States to give each other mutual assistance, in particular to reply to information requests and to carry out, if necessary, factual checks, inspections and investigations. This means that Member States will not be able to refuse to cooperate with each other. For example, they cannot refrain from carrying out checks or providing information relating to a service provider on the ground that risks or problems have occurred not in their territory but in the territory of another Member State.
The obligation to give mutual assistance is comprehensive and encompasses the obligation to take all possible measures necessary for effective cooperation, for example using all possible means to find information if the information is not already available and indicating if difficulties appear.
In order to ensure that mutual assistance is undertaken within the shortest possible time period and in the most efficient way, administrative cooperation should normally take place directly between the competent authorities of the different Member States. Administrative cooperation with competent authorities from other Member States should indeed become standard administrative practice. “Liaison points” – which Member States will have to designate pursuant to Article 28(2) – should only intervene in exceptional circumstances when problems occur (Recital 107). They should consequently have coordinating or supervisory responsibilities in the Member State concerned.
- Information on mutual assistance based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government