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Upgrading Trade and Services in EU and International Economic Law

3rd Radboud Economic Law Conference

15 June 2018

Faculty of Law, Radboud University Nijmegen


General Information

Services, and trade in services, rightfully receive much attention from the European legislator. Services play an important role in the EU economies, from a Gross Domestic Product perspective (services account for more than 70% of the GDP of developed countries), from an employment perspective, and because services are increasingly important for other economic activities, including manufacturing. Services tend to be heavily regulated, which easily distorts competitive opportunities for service providers in other Member States, due to differences in legislation. In the same vein, services tend to be subject to protectionism, as well. Much is to be gained from streamlining legislative differences, or reducing unnecessary barriers to service provision.

In the EU, as part of the ambition to ‘unleash the full potential of the Single Market’, the Commission presented its Services Package at the beginning of 2017. Following the Services Directive, new initiatives formulated in the Services Package aim to make it easier for service providers to deal with administrative formalities, as well as to help Member States identify unnecessarily restrictive requirements on professionals. As indicated by the Commission, the idea is to focus on the better application of the existing rules.

At the external level, the liberalisation of trade in services forms an important objective for the EU and its Member States. Initially pursued mainly within the framework of the WTO, the EU nowadays actively negotiates liberalisation of trade in services via various free trade agreements. Within the framework of multilateral, plurilateral, and bilateral treaties, the EU is bound to various commitments entailing market access and non-discrimination in relation to specific service sectors and specific types of service provision.

In this context, the 3rd Radboud Economic Law Conference aims to provide a forum where judges, academics, practitioners, etc. may exchange ideas on how to upgrade trade and services in the EU and via free trade agreements. To this end, the conference will be structured in two sessions (morning & afternoon) and it proposes topics such as the following:

  • The first part of this conference will focus on the internal dimension of the EU policy on service provision. Many questions will be addressed during this session. For example: what uncertainties still surround the Services Directive? Is the EU ready for the challenges that trade in online services will raise? How will the Services Package boost the internal market for services? What are the novelties that the updated regime for posted workers will bring to the table?
  • The second part of this conference will focus on the external dimension of the EU policy towards trade in services. Numerous questions are raised by trade agreements dealing with services liberalisation. What options exist for a trade agreement with the UK post-Brexit? To what extent does the liberalisation of trade in services, and its consequential service mobility, impact national migration law? How do the various free trade agreements to which the EU is a party (for example CETA, EU – Singapore, EU – CARIFORUM etc.) deal with services trade liberalisation? How do these FTAs fit within the WTO framework? Is the move from multilateralism towards a spaghetti-bowl of free trade agreements temporary or is this the new norm in international trade? Various other issues may be raised on this topic.

The conference will be organised on 15 June 2018 and will feature keynote speeches by:

  • Sybe de Vries, Professor of EU Internal Market Law and Fundamental Rights and Jean Monnet Professor at Utrecht University. He is the coordinator of the EU financed research project concerning EU citizenship (bEUcitizen.eu).
  • Panagiotis Delimatsis, Professor of European and International Trade Law at Tilburg University and Director of the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC).

The papers accepted for presentation during the morning session will be discussed in detail by Johan van de Gronden, Professor of European Law, Vice-Dean of Education at the Faculty of Law, Radboud Univerity, and Judge at the Dutch Council of State. Professor Elspeth Guild will discuss the papers accepted for presentation during the afternoon session. She is professor at Queen Mary University of London and Jean Monnet Professor ad personam at Radboud University Nijmegen. She is also a partner at the law firm Kingsley Napley in London.

Call for Papers

We invite interested parties, practitioners, or members of the academic community to submit proposals for papers for this International Conference. More information on the call for papers may be found by clicking here or on the link on the left panel in the menu.

Registration and Payment

More information on registration, payment and the NOVA points to be awarded for participating in this conference is available by clicking here or on the link on the left panel in the menu.