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The European debate on services: some lessons for the future. Egmont European Affairs Publication, April 2006

de Schoutheete, Philippe, and Secondat, Charles. (2006) The European debate on services: some lessons for the future. Egmont European Affairs Publication, April 2006. [Working Paper]

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    Abstract

    In 2004, the Prodi Commission in its last months presented a proposition of directive meant to abolish most (market) obstacles for the free provision of most (market) services. This text had been drafted rather frenzily by the administration at the request of Commissioner Bolkestein. It was probably the broadest proposition of directive ever presented by the European Commission. Its significance was gradually understood by public opinion in many Members States. Consequently, a controversy developed in the fall of 2004, complicating the first months of the Barroso Commission. After a period of uncertainty, the new Commission expressed a clear support for the proposition. The debate grew more intense. Some founding member States of the EU expressed strong reserves on the text as drafted. It complicated significantly the ratification process of the European Constitution in various countries. In the European Parliament opinion on this subject began to fragment. After detailed and long auditions, more than 1600 amendments were presented during the first reading of the legislative procedure. Finally, in February 2006, the EP succeeded in defining a compromise supported by a broad majority. There are important lessons in this episode for the future. Consensus is sometimes difficult to reach, but it pays. This is a period of huge adaptation, which easily leaves people worried. The majorities established by the Nice Treaty are exceedingly difficult to reach. The Commission neglected this principle, and was weakened. The Parliament respected it, and was strengthened. The episode also reveals that the Parliament - if disciplined - is sometimes better placed to reach difficult economic compromises. This ability could maybe be used more often during the next years.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > Single Market > capital, goods, services, workers
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > business/private economic activity
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Egmont : Royal Institute for International Affairs > European Affairs
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 26 May 2009
    Page Range: p. 2
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:58
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9088

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