[28/02/2006] The EU’s Frankenstein Services Directive

***  THE EU'S FRANKENSTEIN SERVICES DIRECTIVE

The EU services directive was christened the Bolkestein directive after the
EU Commissioner who fathered it. The French know it as the Frankenstein
Directive for its feared impact on service workers' jobs. The compromise
proposal backed by the European Parliament last week remains a threat to
workers' wages and conditions and heralds an increasingly anti-social
Europe.

The conditions for social dumping will still exist, where exploited cheap
foreign labour is being cynically used to batter down hard-won national
standards. The directive is a smokescreen for privatising Europe. It does
this by  seeking to prise open private and public sector service provision
to the free market and corporate carpetbaggers whose only interest is
profit piled on profit. Among the service directive's chief pushers are the
European Roundtable of Industrialists and UNICE,the EU employers'
confederation.

Two-thirds of Ireland's labour force is now employed in services, as
against less than one-third in manufacturing and a few percent in farming.
When Ireland joined the EEC in 1973 the equivalent of ALL the jobs in its
existing manufacturing industry,which was protected  by tariffs at the
time, disappeared inside ten years. They were replaced by a similar number
of export-oriented jobs in foreign firms opening up in Ireland, but without
any increase in overall manufacturing employment for decades.

Will a similar trend now happen in Irish service employment,as EU dictation
strikes down Dublin-made laws that protect services, and as foreign agency
workers increasingly set up here in all sorts of occupations and
professions they were previously unknown in?

Is nobody indignant at this EU rule by "directive"?  It is dictators issue
directives,not democracies. Democracies elect people to make laws - not
"directives" - in their  national parliaments. There are 13 members from
the Republic out of 682 in the European Parliament and we are supposed to
be impressed by its votes as if they are genuinely democratic. What kind of
farcical democracy is this?

To calm trade union opinion the services directive's  "country of origin"
principle, whereby foreigners could work in Ireland at the much lower
standards of the poorer EU countries, has been formally removed for the
time being,  but it is NOT replaced by a "country of destination"
principle. The amended text is silent on that.

The separate Foreign Posting Directive continues to give East European
low-wage countries the right to undermine Irish wages and its collective
bargaining model. Some sensitive issues have been removed from the services
directive, which means that the judges of the EU Court will be able to
decide them instead by means of their case-law in years to come. That Court
is notorious for interpreting  EU directives in such a way as to extend EU
powers - and with that its own powers - to the maximum possible extent. EU
Court judgements will now be used to push to privatise health and education
services.

An amendment to the services directive invites the Court of Justice to
legislate directly "in accordance with the principles of
non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality". These terms are EU
jargon for the Court of Justice in Luxembourg being able to decide that a
national law must be treated as illegal if foreign companies do not have
actual access to national markets to bid for service projects and to
deliver their own services within them.

If this services directive comes into force,our national democracies
enforcing nationally desirable standards -  which have sometimes been
struggled for by citizens or trade unions for generations -  will become
illegal trade barriers in the eyes of the EU Court.

Freagra

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