Parliament edges towards services liberalisation compromise

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Parliament edges towards services liberalisation compromise

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The European Parliament is preparing for a battle next week over service sector reform.

The legislature is due to hold a first vote on Feb. 16 on a bill that would make it easier for lower-cost businesses from Eastern Europe to compete in the

The left and the right in the assembly are said to have made progress in striking a compromise.

Socialist Evelyne Gebhardt, who wrote the parliamentary report in the matter, said:

“We have succeeded in finding a third way to reach agreement on article 16, which is to say the ‘country of origin’ principle. This object of discord has disappeared; we found a way to offer services in the European Union freely.”

Trade unions say the directive could undermine wages, benefits and safety standards.

The directive was seen as a factor behind last year’s rejection by France and the Netherlands of the EU draft constitution.

Unions are organising protests from this Saturday.

The proposals would make it easier for European companies to offer services, ranging from beauty salons to plumbing, without having to anchor subsidiaries in each country they operate in.