Number of Authorisations

Number of Authorisations in Europe

Limitations to the number of authorisations in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following is an examination of limitations to the number of authorisations regarding the European Union Servicies Directive [1]:

Limitations to the number of authorisations: Authorisation schemes and procedures

Limitations on the number of available authorisations are only permissible if they are motivated by the scarcity of available natural resources or technical capacity or if they are justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest.

On the basis of Article 12, where the number of available authorisations is limited because of the scarcity of natural resources or technical capacity, there has to be a specific selection procedure in order to ensure impartiality and transparency and conditions of open competition68. Impartiality specifically requires a judgment on the merits of each application, and bars the competent authorities from conferring any advantage, even de facto, to any of them. For instance, Member States will have to ensure that adequate rules to prevent conflicts of interest are in place. The requirement of transparency relates, above all, to the obligation to give adequate publicity to the selection procedure. In particular, the administration will have to publish all relevant information on the procedure, including the subject-matter of the authorisation scheme, the reasons why the number of authorisations is limited, any applicable deadline, and the criteria which will be employed in order to select the successful candidates.

Article 12 also indicates that these authorisations may only be granted for a limited period of time and may not be renewed automatically. The period for which authorisations are granted shall be appropriate, i.e. should be such as to enable the provider to recoup the cost of investment and to generate a fair return on the investment made69.



  1. Information on limitations to the number of authorisations based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government

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