According to National Association of Large Distribution Companies, ANGED, Spain is the second country in the European Union that could benefit the most from the full application of the Services Directive, with a growth of 3.6% of GDP and a rebound in productivity -the Achilles heel of our economy-, of 9%, according to the study Making EU trade services work for all prepared by Copenhagen Economics for several EU States. However, ten years after the Omnibus Act that transposed the Services Directive in Spain, the blockade of this reform by the autonomous communities has nullified its impact and especially harmed sectors such as trade.
The Directive was launched with the aim of eliminating the large number of obstacles that impede and hinder the development of services within the EU. Since its transposition in Spain in 2009, retail has experienced an unprecedented revolution, marked by digital disruption, the transformation of consumption and the emergence of large global competitors operating exclusively on the Internet. Nevertheless, the autonomic interventionism is producing a fragmentation in 17 markets, which has placed Spain as the second EU country with the most barriers to the establishment and exercise of trade, as denounced by the European Commission.
All this has had a very high opportunity cost in terms of investment, employment and growth. On the one hand, since 2009 no progress has been made on fundamental issues such as the freedom of establishment (opening of stores) and the freedom to exercise the activity (business hours, regulatory simplification, among others). Even many of the communities have continued to legislate on many occasions against the fundamental principles of the Directive. To cite an extreme example, the permanent moratoriums to the opening of stores in Mallorca has cost consumers "a loss in welfare of 23.8 million euros per year," according to data from the CNMC.
In its latest recommendations to Spain of the European Semester, Brussels insists on the need for greater cooperation between Administrations to guarantee the Market Unit, especially in sectors such as retail. But as stated by the repeated requests of the Commission, there is no political will or co-responsibility on the part of the CCAA to effectively apply the Market Unity Guarantee Law, which would help solve part of the problem. On the other hand, there is an absence of judicial collaboration in this matter, due to a lack of knowledge of the basic principles of freedom of establishment and of proportionality.
As Christian Verschueren, CEO of Eurocommerce, recalled last week at a High Level Conference on Retail organized by the European Commission, "trade needs adequate regulation for the digital era and an end to discrimination against European companies in Europe. "
The study Making EU trade services work for all It has been prepared by Copenhagen Economics at the request of the Governments of Ireland, Finland, the Czech Republic and Denmark. More information.