New Internationalist

Beware Bolkestein re-born

Issue 397

The EU attempts to impose a neoliberal ‘Directive on Services’ on all Europeans

The EU Council of Employment Ministers, in company with the European Commission, have again decided to ignore all democratic procedures and attempted to impose a neoliberal ‘Directive on Services’ on all Europeans. This law, originally named after the former Dutch EU Commissioner and noted market enthusiast Frits Bolkestein, would allow privatization of virtually every public service on a ‘country of origin’ basis. This would mean that a Latvian water company could buy up Spanish or British water supply services and run them based on Latvian environmental and labour standards. The Spanish and British could have no role at all in regulation, which would be left up to Latvian regulators – who would presumably travel to Spain and Britain for this purpose. The original Directive was opposed by a European-wide mobilization of trade unionists and then watered down by the European Parliament. The Council and the Commission are now ignoring the changes and trying to impose the essentials of the original Directive.

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