The Commission has sent reasoned opinions to Belgium, Ireland,
Italy and Spain for maintaining what it thinks are obstacles to the
freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment.
Sending a reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement
proceedings under Article 169 of the EC Treaty.
Belgian law requires that natural or legal persons
who are neither resident nor established in Belgium must be
represented by a professional representative for nearly all
dealings with the Belgian patents office. Such professional
representatives must be either Belgian or resident in Belgium.
Belgium has undertaken to amend its legislation.
In Ireland, the 1956 Gambling and Lotteries Act
prohibits participation (such as by purchasing tickets) in other
Member States' lotteries. It also recognises only those lotteries
licensed by the Irish authorities which are promoted and organised
solely within Ireland. The Commission thinks that his contravenes
the principle of freedom to provide services and that the
organisation and promotion of lotteries are economic activities
(services) and should be able to benefit from the single
Spanish law provides that property transactions by
non-residents are a foreign investment and must therefore be
executed by a Spanish notary - even if the agreement has been
concluded before a foreign notary. The Commission says that this
impedes the free movement of workers, freedom of establishment,
freedom to provide services and free movement of capital.
The Commission also is unhappy with the Italian
rules on commercial agents and believes that they contravene the
Commercial Agents Directive. For example, Italian law does not give
effect to the provisions entitling each party to an agency contract
to request either a copy of the written contract or insist that any
verbal agreement be evidenced in writing. Further, Italian law does
not restrict commission after the agency contract is terminated to
those transactions entered into within a reasonable period after
the termination of the contract.