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Liberalising trade in services: creating new migration opportunities? Research Paper in Law, 1/2010

Hatzopoulos, Vassilis (2010) Liberalising trade in services: creating new migration opportunities? Research Paper in Law, 1/2010. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Introduction. It is quite uncommon to associate migration with the rules on services trade. Indeed, all economic definitions of services insist on their immaterial nature and on the increased possibility of trading them ‘virtually’ over networks or else, without any physical movement of the parties involved. Somehow this ‘immaterial’ nature of services reflects on their providers/recipients which seem to be ‘invisible’. Even though most services still require the physical contact of the provider with the recipient1 and, when provided over national borders, do entail migration, service providers and/or recipients are rarely thought of as ‘immigrants’. This may be due to the fact that they enter the foreign territory with a specific aim and, once this aim accomplished, move back to their state of origin; technically they only qualify as short term non-cyclical migrants and are of little interest to policy-makers. A second reason may be that both service providers and recipients are economically desirable: the former are typically highly skilled and trained professionals and the latter are well-off ‘visitors’, increasing consumption in the host state. The legal definition of services in Article 57 TFEU (ex Art. 50 EC) further nourishes this idea about service providers/recipients not being migrants: the relevant Treaty rules only apply when the provisions on free movement of workers and freedom of establishment – themselves clearly linked to migration – do not apply. This distinction has been fleshed up by the ECJ which has consistently held that the distinction between the rules on establishment, on the one hand, and the rules on services, on the other, lies on duration.2 Indeed, all EC manuals state four types of service provision falling under the EC Treaty: a) where the service provider moves to the recipient’s state, for a short period of time (longer stay would amount to establishment), b) where the service recipients themselves move to the state where the service is offered (eg for medical care, education, tourism etc), c) where both service providers and recipients move together in another member state (eg a tourist guide accompanying a group travelling abroad) and d) where the service itself is provided across the borders (typically through the use of ICTs). None of these situations would typically qualify as migration. The above ‘dissociation’ between services and migration has been gradually weakened in the recent years. Indeed, migration is increasingly connected to the transnational provision of services. This is the result of three kinds of factors: developments in the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) case law; legislative initiatives in the EU; and the GATS. Each one of these is considered in some detail below. The aim of the analysis which follows is to show the extent to which (legislative and judicial) policies aimed at the free provision of services actively affect migration conditions within the EU. The EC rules on the provision of services primarily affect the movement of EU nationals. As it will be shown below, however, third country nationals (TCNs) may also claim the benefits of the rules on services, either as recipients thereof or as employees of some EC undertaking which is providing services in another member state (posted workers).

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > Single Market > capital, goods, services, workers
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > free movement/border control
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Research Papers in Law
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 09:37
    Number of Pages: 33
    Last Modified: 01 Oct 2013 09:37

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