Kroes thinks Euro-train should just keep rolling on

2 June 2005

Kroes thinks Euro-train should just keep rolling on

The ink on the referendum result is hardly dry and yet the European train is already rumbling onwards at full speed. This morning the Netherlands' European Commissioner Neelie Kroes declared that “the Dutch all want to see a free market in services.” Obviously the significance of the Netherlands' No has not sunk in. SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard: “With her blinkers on she's going to get on with forcing through the Bolkestein Directive, a typical reaction from the political elite.”

The morning news was dominated by the rejection of the constitution and the idea that Dutch people feel that Europe is moving too quickly and doing too much without their involvement. Despite this, Ms Kroes managed to carry on through the tumult as if absolutely nothing had happened. Without the slightest scruples she interpreted yesterday's overwhelming result in her own inimitable style: Dutch people want nothing more than more freedom of exchange for all services in Europe. The Bolkestein Directive must, as far as she is concerned, be introduced without delay.

In France, this directive was one of the most important reasons why people voted against the constitution. In the Netherlands, also, the citizens let it be known in no uncertain terms that they wanted their voices to be heard before decisions which might have drastic consequences were forced through in Brussels. These lessons were clearly lost on Kroes. On top of the debate over the constitution itself, the strength of feeling in the Netherlands regarding the services directive should not be underestimated. It would be an extremely bad sign if Brussels were immediately now to return to its old ways.

Now that the constitution referendum campaign has ended the SP believes that it is high time that the day-to-day activities and ordinary plans of the European Union were re-examined. The services directive is one such plan, a proposal whose implementation would have enormous implications for citizens and firms alike. Kartika Liotard: “There remains some uncertainty, but what is as clear as day is that the punishing tempo at which the Bolkestein Directive would see the market further liberalised is precisely what was so heavily rejected in yesterday's vote. Europe needs taking down a peg or two – after yesterday that seems obvious. Someone needs to tell Kroes that that goes for her too.”

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