Fears over future of accommodation bureaux

20 February 2009

Fears over future of accommodation bureaux

Local authority rules governing the activities of accommodation bureaux could lose their validity as a result of the application of a new European Union directive. In the Netherlands, these bureaux must be licensed by local councils. In the EU's view, this represents an unfair market restriction: all firms must be able to participate in the market without having to obtain a licence. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer is urging the European Commission to give a clear indication of whether the Dutch system, which guarantees fairness and efficiency, will become illegal when the Services Directive is written into the country's law.

Erik MeijerGroningen

Meijer's written questions to the Commission were prompted by a message from Groningen SP councillor Eelco Eikenaar. The mayor and council majority of this northern city, where the SP is in opposition, assert that the rules on accommodation bureaux must be scrapped because they are in conflict with the Services Directive. However, for the time being at least this is not the case. As Eikenaar points out, the government has yet to transpose the Services Directive into Dutch law, so even if the rules are incompatible with its neoliberal prescriptions, the system can continue for the time being. "It's not been written into out laws, so as things stand it doesn't force us to do anything," he says.

You are here