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Ratification of EU Services Directive represents a significant blow to our public services

15 November, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today expressed her disappointment that the EU Services Directive will become European legislation and said that it would deny 'millions of people the quality public services they deserve'.

Ms de Brún made her comments after the European Parliament voted to ratify the EU Services Directive in Strasbourg this morning.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Today's ratification of the EU Services Directive will have a profound impact on the lives of workers and consumers. Those who are fighting across the country for better public services will see services get worse instead. The directive gives exclusive prominence to the right to provide services across borders whereas social rights and collective bargaining are at best excluded, and at worst dismantled.

"The controversial Country of Origin Principle has been renamed 'the freedom to provide services', but it has not been removed. The directive provides companies with numerous loopholes which they can exploit and will make it harder to defend the rights of workers and consumers. Indeed, it will put pressure on service providers to cut standards in order to compete.

"Commissioner McCreevy has succeeded in convincing the Parliament to back a proposal which fundamentally shifts the balance of power towards business and away from workers. Moreover, the directive challenges the right of Member States, and local authorities, to regulate services properly.

"The Services Directive will deny millions of people the quality public services which they deserve. In addition it will open childcare, social housing, homeless shelters and caring services to the same kind of competition regulations as mobile phones.

"It gives me no satisfaction to say that Sinn Féin has consistently warned that the EU Services Directive was a bad deal for Irish workers and Irish public services. At every point, Sinn Féin has opposed this, and proposed amendments which would limit the effect and scope of the directive. We will continue to fight against the negative impact which this directive will undoubtedly have in Ireland and across Europe." ENDS

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