Professional services are a key component of the EU internal market economy yet also significantly challenge the legal framework governing this internal market. Indeed, specific professional regulatory structures, which are often the result of a blend of government and self-regulation, hold clear potential for conflict with EU free movement and competition law rules. Hence this book looks at the manner in which both free movement and competition laws might apply to such self- and co-regulatory set-ups, and at the leeway given to quality considerations (apparently) conflicting with free movement or competition objectives. In addition, since court action will seldom suffice to genuinely integrate a market, the book also explores those instruments of EU secondary legislation that are likely to impact the most on the provision of professional services.
However, the book goes beyond a mere inventory to ask how EU Internal Market policy could contribute to the optimal legal environment for professional services. A law and economics analysis is employed to investigate the need for specific professional rules, the preferred type of regulator (self-, co- or government regulation), and the level - national and/or European - at which regulation should be adopted. As becomes clear, the story of the market for professional services is one of market and government failure; the author is thus left to compare imperfect situations where market failures compete with rent-seeking efforts, the tendency towards over-centralisation and national protectionism.
This book offers both an in-depth legal analysis of the EU framework as it applies to professional services as well as a more normative evaluation of this framework based on insights from law and economics scholarship. It will therefore be a valuable resource for all practitioners, policy-makers and academics dealing with professional services, as well as, more generally, with questions of quality and self-regulation.