The European commission will present its new draft of the controversial directive to open up the EU’s vast services sector – this Tuesday in Strasbourg at the European Parliament. The assembly itself negotiated a compromise between the conservatives and socialists in February, removing the bill’s core provision that services would be able operate across the EU by meeting only the rules of their home country.
This was called the country-of-origin principle. Under the new draft, governments will be able to restrict access on public security or environmental grounds, and many sectors are not covered by the directive. The liberalisation measures, then, have been watered down. Analysts say the so-called Bolkestein Directive, in its original form, (named after the former internal market commissioner) may have contributed to French and Dutch voters’ rejection of the EU constitution, in referendums last year.