Broad European protest against services directive

25 November 2004

Broad European protest against services directive

Today, several thousand trade unionists gathered in Brussels to demonstrate against Frits Bolkestein’s proposed services directive. Delegations from throughout Europe formed a colourful procession through Brussels’ EU district, where the European Commission and Council of Ministers are based. SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard joined a delegation of trade unionists in presenting a petition to Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and current President of the EU Economic Affairs Council Karien van Gennip.

At eight o’clock on a cold morning thousands of trade unionists gathered in Brussels’ Place de la Liberté/Vrijheidsplein. A big delegation from the Netherlands included representations of numerous unions from both major federations, the FNV and the CNV. SP Euro-MPs Erik Meijer and Kartika Liotard also joined the procession. Ms Liotard is “Rapporteur” on the proposal for the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, which requires her to write a commentary and put forward amendments to which must then, of course, be voted on by the whole Committee. She has proposed, in fact, a total of 54 amendments and, although left and centre-left are in a minority on the Committee, her approach has won surprisingly broad backing. Even the Liberal and Christian Democrat groups made no attempt to hide their doubts as to whether the measure is justified and reasonable.

Kartika Liotard“With such a broad protest within the Parliament and, today, support from such a big demonstration of trade unionists, the European Commission has a serious problem. Ever more people and organisations are waking up to what the services directive would mean to them. From now on we must also mobilise people in the Netherlands to resist this ultraliberal swan song from Bolkestein.”

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