Point of Single Contact (PSC) – How the advisory service is organized
PSCs were prescribed by the EU, are governed by the Länder (states) and are implemented at local government level.
The following paragraphs explain how the service is organized in the City of Munich, the state of Bavaria and throughout the EU.
The City of Munich's PSC
The City of Munich set up its Point of Single Contact on December 28, 2009. Munich's PSC explicitly targets businesses and entrepreneurs of all kinds. In seeking to improve the service it provides to the business community, the City of Munich has thus gone beyond the requirements of the Bavarian PSC Act (BayEAG).
However, the legal consequences of the PSC function, defined in the Bavarian Administrative Procedures Act (BayVwVfG), apply only to service providers from other countries in the EU/EEA and to residents in Germany. The PSC is the first port of call for all companies that want to launch or provide a service in Munich. It supplies information about what Munich has to offer companies in terms of service and consulting offerings and advises them on the rules governing business licenses, the exercise of professions and the formalities of starting a business and (re)locating to Munich.
On request, the PSC can also coordinate the necessary administrative procedures. However, the fact that the Point of Single Contact is involved in no way affects who is responsible for these procedures: Administrative decisions are still always made by the relevant local government authority. Nor is the Point of Single Contact authorized to provide legal or tax advice.
Who is responsible in Bavaria?
Member states were required to implement the EU Services Directive by December 28, 2009. Due to the federal governmental structure in place in Germany, this responsibility was assigned to the Länder (states) in this country. In Bavaria, the legislature elected to split the PSC between the chambers of commerce (in all cases) and, as an option, larger local governments too. The City of Munich exercised its option pursuant to Section 2 Paragraph 2 Sentence 1 of the Bavarian PSC Act (BayEAG).
Objectives of the EU Services Directive
The stated aim of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (dated December 12, 2006) on services in the internal market (hereinafter "the EU Services Directive") is to simplify administrative procedures, remove barriers to the provision of cross-border services and enable service providers to establish their activities in other EU countries. The intention is for a genuine single European market to become established not just for goods, but for services too.
A key tool to realize these objectives is the compulsory EU-wide creation of what have been termed points of single contact (PSCs): central units charged with providing all necessary information and coordinating approvals and licenses.
Pursuant to Article 6 of the EU Services Directive, service providers from other EU/EEA countries whose activities are covered by the Directive should in future be able to complete all administrative procedures and formalities and submit all applications for authorizations that are needed to exercise their service activities via a point of single contact. In this context, the term "service" has a very broad definition, including any self-employed economic activity that is normally provided for remuneration.
Pursuant to Article 2 of the EU Services Directive, special service activities such as electronic communications services and networks, audiovisual media services, financial services, local public transport services, the services of temporary work agencies, healthcare services, gambling activities, private security services and the activities of notaries and bailiffs are explicitly precluded from the scope of the Directive.