Before adopting the draft Services Directive
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) appeals to the wisdom of the Heads of State and Governments when discussing the draft Directive on Services during the next European Council (16-17 December 2004).
At the last AER General Assembly in Vienna (25-26 November 2004), the AER member regions, representing the entire political spectrum of Europe, expressed their deep concerns over the impact of liberalization of services on social and territorial cohesion in the EU. The draft Service Directive will have a significant consequences for a number of services of general interest which are essential for the European citizens. The European Regions demand therefore that the European Council:
- – evaluates the consequences of previous liberalization in such sectors as postal and telephone services, energy, water supply, railway transports, in terms of employment, environmental protection, as well as social and territorial cohesion, before any further liberalization of new services sectors,
- – clarifies the scope and the limits of this Directive, in order to insure that it does not undermine the European social model,
- – carries out, if the need arises, a prospective study of the consequences of such a uniform, standardized approach to the sensitive sectors of healthcare, social services, education, culture, areas in which each EU Member State has its own traditions.
“We plead for sectorial evaluations, on a State by State basis, which should be run by ideologically independent agencies, in order to make sure that the principles of universality, affordability, quality, permanence and transparency, so essential for the European citizens, are still respected” said Riccardo Illy, the AER President and President of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region. “We also ask for a comprehensive study in rural, remote and lagging regions, all in all in uncompetitive areas, in order to measure the impact of liberalization on the accessibility of services of general interest outside urban areas” he added.
Furthermore in the “AER Common position on services of general interest”, the AER member regions call upon the European Institutions that no moves be made toward the further liberalization of the areas of culture, education, health, social affairs, water supply, waste and sewage disposal in the international arena. In particular within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which rules don’t recognize the notion of services for the general interest of the citizens.
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