Services Directive: the ETUC welcomes the Council agreement

Brussels, 30/05/2006

Ministers responsible for the internal market yesterday came to a political agreement on the opening of the services sector between Member States of the European Union.

Said ETUC General Secretary John Monks: “We are in the process of examining the details of this agreement, but apparently it seems to respect the main principles of the vote in the European Parliament and the amended proposal issued by the Commission, which the ETUC also greeted favourably. However, there are some points that still concern us relating to the social dimension of this deal, notably on the exclusion of labour law and social services of general interest, and on respect for fundamental rights. We cannot say that we are totally satisfied until we have obtained guarantees in these areas. Furthermore, a second reading in the European Parliament is required. This institution represents the will of European citizens and must be respected.”

The ETUC is counting on the Parliament to carry out a serious evaluation of the Council agreement and to make adjustments if need be, with a view to obtaining the wide support of European citizens and workers at the second reading.