SP calls for resistance to Bolkestein’s ‘Directive that came from Hell’

16 October 2004

SP calls for resistance to Bolkestein’s ‘Directive that came from Hell’

Representatives of trade unions and social organisations made it clear during the European Social Forum in London that they absolutely reject the proposed Directive on Services in the Internal market, Commissioner Frits Bolkestein’s “Directive that came from Hell”. On 11 November trade unions from several EU member states are organising a demonstration against the proposal outside the European Parliament in Brussels. At the ESF, SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard called on all of those present to turn up to the Brussels action, a call which was quoted as part of the ESF final resolution. She also promised to do all that she could to enable as many representatives of critical organisations as possible to be present at the meeting and has since written to Internal Market Committee Chair Philip Whitehead, a British Labour MEP, urging him to open the meeting to as broad an audience as possible.

“If Bolkestein’s Services Directive ever becomes law,” Ms Liotard said, “working conditions in Europe would be hugely undermined. The controversial ‘Country of Origin Principle’ would allow companies to base themselves in countries where in law and practice working conditions are relatively poor. Employees from these firms would be obliged to work under such conditions even if the job took place in another EU country. In addition, if that country had stricter environmental regulations, the company would not be obliged to respect them but could simply follow the laws existing in the member state where it was established.”

The 11 November demonstration will follow hard after a planned demonstration outside an EU-sponsored social policy conference in Rotterdam earlier in the week. The demonstration, scheduled for 12 noon at the Schouwbergplein not far from Rotterdam Central Station, will be timed for the end of the conference, whose title, “Social Europe: Let’s Deliver” has a hollow sound to anyone familiar with the text of the Services Directive, or with the recent direction of social policy in the EU.

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