Home > No Valentine for Bolkestein !

No Valentine for Bolkestein !

by Open-Publishing - Friday 10 February 2006

Edito GATS-Bolkestein Europe

Dear friends,

After two years of discussion on the Bolkestein directive, the plenary of the European Parliament on 14-16/02/06 will be decisive.

No Valentine for Bolkestein !

It is time for all members of parliament to take action and to sustain the demonstrations of Saturday 11 (NGO’s and social movements) and Tuesday 14 (Unions) in Strasbourg for « another directive on services ».


After almost two years of debates raging across Europe, discussions on the Bolkestein directive are now reaching the crucial stage in the European parliament.

We know that, in its current state, the draft directive is quite simply unacceptable: it is nothing more and nothing less than a project to deregulate the services market. Moreover, because of its across-the-board application, it threatens the achievement of missions of general interest and the regulatory role of the public authorities at the national, regional and local levels. Finally, the application of the country of origin principle as a general rule would lead to social, fiscal and environmental dumping throughout the European Union.

Even if the directive has so far undergone a few changes thanks to parliamentarian work of some progressists, the Bolkestein directive as such still represents a real threat for the European social model.

We have arrived at a decisive moment. All civic actions targeting the MP’s are urgent and of fundamental importance.

At the eve of vote in the plenary, 3 points are to be raised (details here under):

* two demonstrations are organised in Strasbourg. Feel free to join! any support is more than welcome ;
* To participate you will also find below a model e-mail requesting support for the amendments defending the petition’s demands, which you can send to all MP’s
* Last but not least, after proposal of Belgian Unions who meet the chairman of the European Parliament Borrell, the petition will be officially given to Mister Borrell.

It is more essential than ever that our members of parliament know that we are following this issue closely! Let’s take part in all the initiatives! Hoping to be able to count on your unfailing support, we send you our militant greetings.

No to Liberal Directive on Services, yes to social directive on public services !


* Saturday 11/02/06 in Stasbourg : demonstration : meeting/starting point at « Place de l’Etoile » at 14.00 - Closure at « Palais de la musique et des congrès » at 18.00 where there will be a few speeches from different european NGO’s and social movements representatives
* Tuesday 14 at 9.30 AM in Strasbourg : as the Belgian Unions will bring up the petition requests inside to the chairman, anybody who has signed the petition and is in Strasbourg is more than welcome to support and join outside ! Further details (exact place) will be put on line next Monday.
* Tuesday 14/02/06 in Strasbourg: demonstration of Unions. See all details after ETUC call for mobilization at http://www.etuc.org/a/1581
* Model e-mail to send to all European Parliament members

Dear Madam,

Dear Sir,

In my capacity as a citizen, I am deeply concerned about the « Bolkestein » draft directive which seeks to completely open up the "services market in Europe". I find this conception of « market absolutism » extremely disturbing. Services provided to human beings are not mere goods that should be bought and sold. General-interest services such as education, culture, health and the audiovisual must be preserved from the rules of competition. For this reason, I have signed the petition at www.stopbolkestein.org, whose demands I hope you will read attentively.

I am proud to inform you that as of today we have collected nearly 100,000 electronic and paper signatures, and that no fewer than 300 organisations are supporting this effort.

I know that you will be discussing the draft directive in next week’s plenary and that many amendments are on the table. I therefore ask you to take the petition’s demands into account when you, your group or your party will express its views... and its vote on the subject.

In line with the petition’s demands, I support and ask you to support today the amendments seeking to:

1. drastically reduce the directive’s scope of application, more specifically by excluding services of general interest and general economic interest, in particular education, health care and social services, audiovisual services, the services of gas, electricity and water, environmental services as well as temporary employment agencies ;
2. recognise that the services directive merely supplements the existing sectoral directives or those yet to come, as well as the provisions of the Rome Convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations and those of the draft "Rome II" regulation relating to the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ; these laws must take precedence over the services directive ;
3. recognise that the services directive has no affect on the applicability of the labour law of the host country, including the collective agreements, any more than the application of the directive on the secondment of workers ;
4. permit the Member States to preserve the requirements imposed on service providers for imperative reasons of general interest, in conformity with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice ;
5. provide an alternative to the country of origin principle, which in any event should not be applied to an area where an adequate level of harmonisation has not been attained ;
6. launch an ambitious process of harmonisation concerning the rules relating to the authorisation regimes and procedures, the requirements placed on service providers, the behaviour of the provider, the quality or the content of the services, advertising, contracts and the responsibility of the provider; such harmonisation must concern only the services covered by this directive, it being understood that the general-interest services mentioned in point 1 above are excluded from its scope.

For me it is essential to obtain guarantees regarding the future of Europe, its social model, and thus regarding your position with respect to this directive. I expect a firm and convincing reaction from you. I hope to be able to count on your personal commitment on this vital issue. I will read your response carefully and will be following your action closely.

Hoping that your choice will assuage my concerns and will help to impede the unravelling of our European model of society,