This chapter discusses the concept of the restrictions to the free provision of services. Regulation is not an end in itself; it is only desirable to the extent that it is necessary for the achievement of a further end. Chapter 1 indicated several reasons justifying regulation. In addition to those reasons, there is yet another which is specific to the EU context: the need to eliminate restrictions to the operation of the internal market. This is achieved through regulation at the EU — and not the member state — level. Accordingly the identification of restrictions to the free movement of services within the EU, generated by national measures, becomes a fundamental aspect of understanding the EU's regulatory activity in the field. Once the legal basis of the ‘right to regulate’ is thus grounded, it becomes crucial to explore the main qualitative characteristics of restrictions, in order to assess, at a later stage, the regulatory means that are best suited to tackle them.
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