The version as adopted is very different from that originally proposed by the Commission back in March 2004. In fact, the proposal was controversial and gave rise to difficult negotiations in both the Council and the European Parliament.
The purpose of the new directive is to facilitate the cross border provision and receipt of services. It sets out what kind of restrictions the member State where the services are provided (host state) may still impose (articles 16 and 17) and what manner of supervision can be exercised either by the state of establishment (article 30) or by the host state (article 31).
The directive is a residual one: it only applies if no other, more specific directive, regulation or other EC act applies.
Exactly what the value-added of this new directive will be remains to be seen. After all, Articles 43 EC and 49 EC still apply. Perhaps important new provisions are those requiring the member States to simplify their bureaucratic procedures on the provision of services and the exercise of the right of establishment (article 5) and obliging them to set up a "single point of contact" so that service providers from other member States need only address themselves to one place to complete the requisite formalities to be able to provide the services envisaged in the host state (article 6).
The directive enters into force on December 28th 2009.