CRITICS OF A HORIZONTAL DIRECTIVE
71. It is also proving difficult to find a consensus
in the Council of Ministers on a horizontal services directive.
Diverging views in the Council about the Services Directive were
reflected in the meetings we had in Germany and Poland. During
our inquiry, the sternest critics of the horizontal approach came
from Germany. On our visit to Berlin, we were presented with the
SPD Parliamentary Group's "Initial Evaluation of the Services
Directive", which states "the large-scale abandonment
of harmonisation is the Directive's major shortcoming in terms
of achieving its intended goal of creating a competitive single
market for services".
72. The opposition to a horizontal directive
expressed by the German Socialists in Berlin and Evelyne Gebhardt
in the European Parliament is shared by the UK Trades Union Congress
(TUC). Although the TUC told us that it is not against the idea
of a horizontal Directive in principle, it wishes to see a greater
scope for derogations in favour of host country regulation. Amicus
went further, describing the draft directive as impractical and
unworkable (Amicus written evidence).
73. A different view was presented to us by the
CBI who commended the Commission for taking a framework approach
to this proposal. In the past "business has seen an overload
of the wrong sort of legislation" (Q 71) and "a tradition
within the Commission to [produce] 25 draft directives answering
every question known to man but leaving us without the will to
do anything about it." (Q 60) The CBI believes that the directive
"could make a positive contribution to making the EU work
for business" (Q 71).
74. We believe that EC legislation to facilitate
an Internal Market in services must rely on a horizontal approach
and cannot be based on stringent harmonised rules. Hence we agree
with the Commission's approach. If the EU is to achieve the (revised)
Lisbon goal of greater economic growth with more and better jobs
by 2010, a horizontal directive will be the only way of reaping
the full benefits of an internal market in services.
75. We believe the most powerful argument for
a horizontal framework directive on an internal market in services
is the length of time it took to achieve the legislative basis
for an internal market in goods. We see a clear danger in the
sector-by-sector harmonisation of regulations route that negotiations
will become bogged down for many years.
27 SEC(2004)21: Extended Impact Assessment of Proposal
for a Directive on Services in the Internal Market, 13 January
SEC(2004) 21, p. 28 Back
European Parliament Resolution, 13 February 2003 at http://www.europarl.eu.int Back
The UK's largest manufacturing, technical and skilled persons'
trade union . Back