Parliament and the Services Directive

Latest: Sign ETUC petition on public services. More information here.

Update: November 2006. The Services Directive second reading in Parliament - find out what happened

The Services Directive vote took place on February 16th 2006. In the months leading up to the vote, the Greens campaigned against the Directive.

Background: The aim of the Services Directive is to create a free market for the services sector. It is believed that the removal of barriers in service provision would encourage cross-border competition. However rules and standards governing services are very different across the 25 EU Member States. If the original Services Directive proposal had gone through, safety nets in Member States could also have been removed and so there was the risk of 'social dumping' in key sectors.

The vote

The controversial Directive was in the end amended and approved by the European Parliament. However, while labour law and many important services such as healthcare were excluded from its scope, some social services were kept in, they include education and environmental services. Green MEPs therefore voted against the Directive warning that it does not provide adequate protection for public services.

Jean joins the other Green MEPs at the demonstration in Strasbourg


The lead up to the vote

Prior to the vote the Green Group launched an appeal and campaign document in several languages calling on MEPs to reject or seriously amend the Directive.

The Bolkestein Directive: Health Warning. Jean launches new Report on health and the Services Directive.

4 October - Greens call for clarity on the day of the lead committee vote

13 July - MEPs strongly amend the services proposal in the Employment Committee vote. Read the press release

18th April - Parliament's Draft Report on the Services Directive is released - read it HERE! The Green Group held a press conference outlining their reactions. Click HERE to read what Jean and the other panelists had to say

Jean's position on the controversial proposed Services Directive:

The Services Directive is a mess. That is why the Greens in the European Parliament, with other progressive colleagues, have been trying to get the proposal withdrawn and campaigning to have a Directive on Services of General interest decided first which would set out the protective framework needed for these essential public services.

Our belief is that the current Directive is not good for workers, consumers or business.It transfers responsibility for understanding the law and its operation to the individual from the Government and authorities - the ultimate privatisation. It is so badly drafted that it includes health and care services, yet no-one can clearly say why these need to be there and what the effect will be on these public services. The arguments about jobs rest on sandy ground - while jobs may be created there is no guarantee that they will the "quality" jobs demanded by the EU's so-called Lisbon Agenda and it is not clear how many jobs might be lost. 
Opposition is growing throughout the European Union. Trade Unions will be leading a demonstration in Brussels on March 19th and the Social NGOs are also active (see: The Services Directive can be defeated, but not if people stay silent.

For the Green Group position paper on the Services Directive CLICK HERE

On Tuesday 8th March, the Commission made a statement to Parliament on the Services Directive in which it was made clear that there would be no withdrawal. Click here to read the full statement.