The European Commission has approved a services liberalisation directive to apease those who feared it would mean no-holds-barred deregulation.
The original provision that services would be able operate across the EU by meeting only the rules of their home country – called the country-of-origin principle — was removed. The new text talks about freedom to offer services in another EU member state, while respecting the host country’s rules.
Governments will be able to restrict access on public security or environmental grounds, and many sectors are not covered by the directive.
Some staunch free marketeers were disappointed that the EU executive closely aligned itself with a European Parliament compromise version worked out in February. The national governments are expected to give it their approval.