LIMOSA under attack

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Date:
27 Dec 2012

<p>In its judgement of 19 December, the European Court of Justice made matchwood of Belgium's requirement that self-employed service providers established in another Member State make a LIMOSA declaration prior to carrying out services in Belgium.</p>

In its judgement of 19 December, the European Court of Justice made matchwood of Belgium's requirement that self-employed service providers established in another Member State make a LIMOSA declaration prior to carrying out services in Belgium.

The European Commission brought Belgium before the Court because it considered the Belgian declaration requirement with respect to self-employed service providers from other EU Member States incompatible with the principle of freedom to provide services.

Belgium has set up a system whereby a foreign self-employed service provider has to make a normal (i.e. detailed) or simplified LIMOSA declaration before starting professional activities in Belgium. Failure to comply with these provisions had been subject to criminal penalties. The system aims at combating undeclared work and countering other abuses (e.g. false claims of self-employment).

However, the European Court of Justice has now clearly stated that the prior declaration requirement with respect to self-employed service providers constitutes a restriction on their freedom to provide services. More specifically, the Court has decided that Belgium has failed to prove that the requirement to provide such very detailed information in advance of starting work is necessary to achieve the objectives sought and must, therefore, be regarded as disproportionate.

The decision of the Court has no influence on the LIMOSA declaration requirement with respect to the posting of workers.

> Action point

With this judgement, the rules have not changed yet. It is up to the legislator to take the necessary measures. We will keep you informed about further developments.