In 2006 member states of the EU agreed to a series of simplifications to make starting up a company faster and cheaper anywhere in Europe. These simplifications called for cheaper and faster procedures and the implementation of a one-stop shop for all administrative procedures when starting up a company.
The European Services Directive obliges EU countries to simplify all procedures involved in starting and carrying out a service activity. A key element in the implementation process of the Directive is the creation of a European network of "points of single contact" (PSCs), where future entrepreneurs and existing businesses can easily obtain all relevant information on the business and legal environment of any specific country.
Member PSCs of this EUGO network are e-government portals that entrepreneurs and enterprises can use to get detailed information about doing business abroad and to complete administrative formalities concerning the establishment of a business or the cross-border provision of services.
The PSCs help their users to deal with a wide range of practical issues, like
- Which licences, notifications or permits do I need to start a business in any EU country?
- What do I need to do when I want to offer my services abroad on a temporary basis?
- How do I apply for a licence? Which organisation is responsible for dealing with my application?
- How can I get my professional qualifications recognised?
- Do I have to pay a fee? If so, how much will it be? How long will it take to get my licence?
- What do I need to do to set up, for instance, a restaurant or a shop? Or to work as a tour operator in another country without actually setting up a permanent office in that country?
- Where can I go for further advice and information?
All national PSCs are part of the European EUGO network.
2nd generation PSCs
In its recently adopted Communication on the implementation of the Services Directive: A partnership for new growth 2012 -2015, the European Commission committed to the following: By the end of 2014, Member States, assisted by the Commission, are encouraged to develop the second generation PSCs which should
- cover all procedures during the business life cycle,
- be multilingual, and
- be more user-friendly. The Commission will agree with Member States criteria for the second generation PSCs in the form of a 'PSC Charter'.
More information on the PSC Network is available here: