From Statistics Explained
The internal market is one of the most important and continuing priorities of the European Union. The central principles governing the internal market for services are set out in the EC Treaty, which guarantees EU companies the freedom to establish themselves in other Member States, and the freedom to provide services on the territory of another Member State other than the one in which they are established.
In 2007, in the EU, the services sector accounted for 71.6 % of gross value added and a similar (but increasing) proportion of overall employment. Business services have a particularly important role in the services economy. Business activities in this economic sector include:
- computer services;
- real estate;
- research and development;
- other business activities including legal services, accounting, market research, advertising, industrial cleaning and security services.
The objective of the Services Directive (123/2006) is to eliminate obstacles to trade in services, thus allowing the development of cross-border operations. It is intended to improve competitiveness, not just of service enterprises, but also of European industry as a whole. The Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council in December 2006 and was due to be transposed by the Member States by the end of 2009. It is hoped that this legislation will help achieve potential economic growth and job creation, and it is for this reason that the Directive is seen as a central element of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs. Moreover, by providing for administrative simplification, it also supports the better regulation agenda.
Short-term business statistics (STS) collected and collated by Eurostat, cover all business sectors and include many of the key short-term indicators that are vital for analysis of recent economic developments and the development of monetary and economic policy. The data series cover all the European countries together with totals for the euro area and the EU.