AbstractThe European Union and a growing number of its Member States have become active in promoting and funding the development and to some extent deployment of climate services. Despite significant progress in the creation of large high-quality open access repositories of basic climate data and despite the growing number of pilot projects with more tailored co-designed climate services for various sectors, no real breakthrough in the uptake of climate services has been witnessed. Two projects EU-MACS and MARCO, funded from the EU H2020 programme, assessed what the obstacles to uptake were and how these could be alleviated. This article discusses main outcomes from these projects, with special attention for the need to better underpin the concept of climate services and the justification to promote their use, e.g. by means of the merit good concept. The projects also identified the need for a climate services market observatory. Other articles in the same special issue provide more in-depth insights regarding several subjects.