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Bartenstein: Dienstenrichtlijn een mijlpaal op de weg naar meer economische groei en werkgelegenheid in Europa (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Oostenrijks Voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2006, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 30 mei 2006.

Compromise opens the door to a European services market while excluding wage and social dumping

"A year after the failure of the referendum on the constitution in France, this decision on the Services Directive shows the EU has regained its ability to act. The Services Directive symbolises Europe's new energy", Austria's Economics Minister Martin Bartenstein commented following the political agreement reached in Brussels in the Competitiveness Council, of which he is currently president.

According to Bartenstein, the directive is a milestone on the road to more growth and jobs in Europe and hence a crucial part of the Lisbon strategy, as some 70 per cent of added value and more than two thirds of jobs in the EU depend on the services sector. But Monday's agreement on this highly controversial directive was also a clear signal to the public that the EU was capable of solving problems even in difficult times: "We have succeeded in making possible a European services market and at the same time excluded wage and social dumping. An important aspect was to avoid opening up new divisions between old and new Member States." He said the fact there had been no vote against the Austrian Presidency's balanced compromise text was impressive proof of the Member States' unity.

The historic compromise in the European Parliament in February, the support for that proposal by the Heads of State and Government at the March Summit and the draft submitted by the Commission in April, which had been based to a large extent on the compromise voted by the Parliament, had cleared the way for political agreement by the competitiveness ministers on 29 May on this very important directive for the EU, according to Bartenstein.

Bartenstein expressed his appreciation for the excellent work accomplished by the Commission and by the two big political groups in the European Parliament, the EEP-ED and the Socialist Group who, in a triumph for European democracy, had laid the foundations for political agreement on the Services Directive. He did not envisage Parliament having any problem with the text agreed by the Council and expected the directive to be endorsed at second reading.

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