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Friday, February 17, 2006

The Services Directive

It was supposed to liberalise services across the EU, leading to a truly free market in services, a way of producing, so we were told, 600.000 jobs. It was decried as a dirty capitalist plot, a way of destroying social cohesion and wrecking the social model. Socialists even called it the Frankenstein Directive. Yet it has been accepted by the Notoriously Backward European Parliament. What has happened. In the words of David Rennie

If this was such a blow for free markets, why, exactly, was the Tory in charge of shepherding the directive through the parliament, Malcolm Harbour MEP, being given manly hugs by Martin Schultz, head of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, and Robert Goebbels, a Lefty from Luxembourg?
From the Latest Open Europe pamphlet (PDF), we get a glimmer of an idea as to why the left wing beasts of Brussels might be in celebratory mood:
Article 5 (1b) Member States, in conjunction with the Commission, shall introduce, where appropriate and feasible, harmonised European forms. Those forms shall be equivalent to certificates, attestations and any other documents concerning establishment which demonstrate that a requirement has been met in the Member State of destination. Article 16 (4) By five years after the entry into force of this Directive at the latest, the Commission shall, after consultation of the Member States and the Social Partners at European level, submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the application of this article, in which it shall consider the need for proposing harmonization measures regarding service activities covered by this Directive.
Like previous directives and treaties that have come before, they purportedly set out to create free market reforms, a truly liberal Europe. After coming under intense attack from the supposedly Consensus Politicians of Europe, the measures end up rather different. They become another reason to stifle business and to remove freedom of action, yet another step along the Road to Euro Serfdom. This is not an entity that can be reformed, no more than a Scorpion can be trained not to sting. Its purpose is to create socialism in Europe, and no amount of reform effort will ever change that.

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