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European Appeal

Together, let's change the services directive and preserve the European social model

For several months the European Parliament has been discussing the European Commission's proposal for a directive on services in the internal market. These discussions are now arriving at a crucial point with the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee scheduled to vote on amendments on 22 November. The Parliament will then likely adopt its first reading opinion during the Plenary Session in January 2006.

The signatories of this appeal listed below are opposed to the adoption of this legislation in the format proposed by the Commission. Unless it is completely reshaped on a series of fundamental points, the services directive will jeopardize the fulfilment of the missions of general interest and the regulatory role of public authorities at national, regional and local levels. The application as a general rule of the country of origin principle will also lead to 'dumping' in social, fiscal, consumer protection and environmental terms. The existing proposal would also increase the legal uncertainty concerning applicable laws. In short, it represents a considerable threat to the European social model.

We therefore call on the European Parliament to support major modifications to the draft directive.

We support the amendments which tend to:

  1. reduce comprehensively the scope of the directive, especially by excluding services of general interest and services of general economic interest, in particular healthcare and social services, audiovisual services, postal services, gas, electricity, water and environmental services as well as the temporary work agencies ;
  2. recognise that the services directive is only complementary to the existing and upcoming sectoral European legislation in services, as well as to the provisions of the Rome Convention on the laws applicable to contractual obligations and to those of the draft "Rome II" Regulation on the laws applicable to non-contractual obligations; these pieces of legislation should prevail over the services directive ;
  3. recognise that the services directive should not affect in any way the applicability of the host country's employment laws, including collective agreements, nor the application of the posting of workers directive ;
  4. allow Member States to keep the requirements imposed on service providers for overriding reasons of public interest, in conformity with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice ;
  5. provide an alternative to the country of origin principle, which in any case should not apply in any field where sufficient harmonisation has not been reached ;
  6. launch an ambitious harmonisation process concerning the rules related to the authorisation schemes and procedures, the requirements on services providers, the behaviour of the provider, the quality or content of the service, the advertisement, the contracts and the provider's liability; this harmonisation would only apply to those services covered by the directive, presuming that services of general interest mentioned above in point 1 are excluded.

We call the European Parliament to adopt these amendments.

See the signatories list as on 14 February 2006

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