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EU Services Directive must be scrapped - Mary Lou McDonald

22 March, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today called for the controversial EU Services Directive to be abandoned by the European Commission. Ms McDonald warned that 'the directive cannot just be scrapped and then replaced with a cosmetically altered version two years down the line'.

Ms McDonald was speaking after it emerged that a number of EU member states have expressed concerns about the directive which aims to create a free market in services such as health and education throughout the European Union.

The Services Directive will form part of the discussions of the EU Economic summit which begins in Brussels this evening. Speaking in Dublin Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the EU Services Directive and we are on record as saying so on a number of occasions. We believe that the EU Commission is intent on turning public services into private enterprises. Indeed, a recent report (Feb 8th 2005) by the European Commission suggested that the opening up of the services market could bring significant economic growth to the EU.

"We believe that to open up the market in such a way would lead to a significant loss of jobs in the public sector. We also concerned that the impact of the Directive will be to lower the standard of service provision for the public and the conditions for workers in Ireland and across the EU. This is far removed from Sinn Féin's vision of a Europe of equals, and instead leaves public services at the mercy of the highest bidder.

"According to critics of the directive, the on-going drive towards further privatisation has led to price increases, a marked decrease in the service provided and increases in the cost of provision according to consumer associations".

"I am calling upon the European Commission and in particular Commissioner Charlie McCreevy to scrap the EU Services Directive. However, the directive cannot simply be scrapped and then replaced with a cosmetically altered version." ENDS

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