The European Commission is not going to abandon the country of origin principle which is the main stumbling block to creating a single European market for services.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said this in a keynote speech to a business forum, the Lisbon Council association, in Brussels, with a summit of the EU leaders barely a week away.
He has made it his mission to re-boot the Lisbon drive to boost Europe’s economic performance.
“Today the greatest unexploited (growth and employment) potential clearly lies in services. If we are not able to tap this potential, European workers and consumers will be the real losers.”
States with heavier social protection costs object that their companies would be at a disadvantage competing with foreign service companies bound by less strict laws.
“One of the problems that we have today in Europe is that some people have not yet changed a chip to a enlarged Europe. They still think in terms of a Europe of 15, not in terms of a Europe of 25”, Barroso said.
“And some people think that the Commission is there to protect the 15 against the new 10, and (it)‘s not. The Commission is there to protect the general interests of Europe.”
The Commission promised on March 3 that the “country of origin” principle would be adapted, to maintain standards and conditions for workers in the EU market.