EU: Refit evaluation European Commission of the Council Directive on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents (Directive 86/653/EEC)

Jaap VAN TILL | EU | 2015-09-15


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Evaluation of the Council Directive 86/653/EEC (‘the Directive’ ) was identified as legislation that should be assessed given that it had never been evaluated since it entered into force in 1986 and there was an interest to know whether the Directive was still relevant to stakeholders and had EU added value.

The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the functioning of the Directive and whether it remains fit-for purpose in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and EU added value.


The consultation process was conducted between August and September 2014. The public consultation yielded 276 stakeholder responses, the vast majority coming from commercial agents or their representatives from mainly four Member States: France, Germany, Austria and the UK. The remaining responses came from stakeholders in nine other Member States (Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Luxemboug and Sweden) and one non EU-country (Norway).


It is interesting to note that the number of commercial agents an the amount of turnover generated have increased between 2008 and 2012. Despite the success of alternative sales channels such as e­ commerce, commercial representation remains an attractive commercial proposition and is by no means a declining business model.

The results of the evaluation of the evaluation can be briefly summarized as follows:


  • The Directive meets its objective of facilitating cross-border activities;
  • The Directive strikes a balance between the interests of the agents and principals and the costs are limited and affordable;
  • An overwhelming majority of responding stakeholders saw only positive effects for individual market players, especially better opportunities to participate in and benefit from the internal market;
  • The large majority of the Member States who contributed tot he evaluation held the view that the Directive had EU added value. This view was confirmed in the stakeholder consultation;
  • The consultation and analysis have not shown any possible conflicts with other policy fields;


On the above basis, the European Commission has recommended that the Directive is maintained in its current form.


Jaap van Till, IDI agency & distribution country expert for Netherlands


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