The Services Directive splits again the EU

The Services Directive splits again the EU


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The Services Directive continues to split the European Union. Readers may recall that the first draft of it, under the name of “Bolkenstein Directive,” split France in two and set off general mistrust in the country as regards to whatever came from Brussels, later leading to the negative vote on the European Constitution. Of course it took a lot more for the French to vote “non,” but the Bolkenstein Directive paved the way, to the present, politically “frozen” European Union. Currently the modified Services Directive is in the European Parliament. Last Wednesday the MP rapporteur unveiled 11 amendments to the Council’s common position, provoking a mixed response from members of the Internal Market Committee. The number and the extent of the amendments are so far reaching that the compromise among the EU main bodies, that is the Council, the Commission and the Parliament itself, on the text of the Directive is seriously under threat.
This possibility of course did not pass unnoticed and some MEPs, mainly of the EPP-ED and ALDE groups, argued that many of the amendments were in fact political and not technical, as the rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt (PES, DE), had argued. So those MEPs concluded that the amendments threaten the compromise between the EPP-ED and PES groups (which enabled Parliament to adopt a resolution at first reading) and were likely to be rejected by the Council (which also struggled to arrive at the common position it has sent to Parliament for second reading).
It is obvious that the Services Directive threatens  the fragile unity of the European Union once more and the parliamentarians should find a way to reach a compromise. The compromise however should not threaten whatever substance has remained in the Directive, in the attempt to allow some liberalism in the tightly closed…mine field of the European services sector. So the issue insentirely in the hands of the European parliamentarians. 

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