agreement on a services directive
Brussels (European Parliament)
After the Parliament’s first reading
in February this year, it was now the Council’s turn to reach agreement
on the services directive. On Monday 29 May (precisely one year after
the France’s “non”) the European ministers met in Brussels
to discuss the newly proposed draft for a services directive. In broad
lines, the EU ministers followed the Commission’s new proposal.
By unanimity, the Council reached a political agreement on this draft.
At one of its forthcoming meetings, it will formally adopt a common position,
which will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The text upon which the ministers have agreed was a balanced compromise
put forward by the Austrian presidency.
|Eurofedop will closely follow the developments surrounding
the Council’s actions with regard to the services directive. It is
important that the Council stays close to the amended version, and will
not push for services that need their own regulatory framework (i.e. services
of general interest) to be re-inserted into the directive.
Services Not Private Profit
Rally & Lobby of Parliament, April 2006
services and public service workers are facing unprecedented pressure
from Government plans for privatisation and job cuts. Across virtually
every area of public service and with virtually no consultation, proposals
are being brought forward to hand over services to the private sector
at seemingly no matter what the cost to either the taxpayer or service
In health, education, local government, prisons and probation and in every
department of central government the Government is forcing services into
the private sector. The Governments Education & Inspections
Bill is just the most recent example of the threat to the very concept
of public services. Even where the private sector has failed and services
taken back into the public sector, as in the railways, the Government
is re-privatising them!
Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake.
The pay, pensions and conditions of employment of public services workers
are under threat. Services which our community relies upon are at risk.
The present attack on public services is on such a scale that we are in
danger of witnessing the undermining of the very concept of public service
provision in this country.
Read the flyer (pdf).
at launching first book Health First Europe 2050 a Health Odyssey
Eurofedop was represented at the launching of the first
book of Health First Europe (H.F.E.), 2050 a Health Odyssey,
that took place in the European Parliament in Brussels on 2 February 2006.
Our position of the Trade Council Health Services was included in the
Especially the presence of Mr David Byrne, former Commissioner charged
with health care in Europe, was noticed. Just as Eurofedop, he contributed
in an important way to the realisation of the book, thanks to the introduction
of an article.
The book is a collection of ideas, preoccupations and reflections on the
future of European health care. It was achieved thanks to contributions
of a variety of authors ranging from representatives of patients groups,
academicians and industrialists to politicians and organisations of health
care workers such as Eurofedop.
The intention of the book is to promote dialogue and encourage the political
debate on European health care. Especially worth mentioning is that all
authors indicate that it is of essential importance to hold still for
a while and reflect on the consequences of the fact that an adequate global
policy plan and framework are missing and still waiting to be produced.
to the future on the Services Directive - MEPs react to new proposal
|MEPs had a first opportunity to react to the Commission's
revised proposals on the services directive, when Commissioners Charlie
McCreevy and Vladimir Spidla outlined their new draft to the House. There
was widespread agreement that the Commission had closely followed the position
adopted by Parliament at its first reading vote in February – the
next stage of the process is for the Member States to come to a common position
in the Council.
between a social Europe and no Europe at all
Resolution of the EUCDW for the EPP Congress in Rome (March 30-31, 2006)
people are currently following the process of European unification with
rather than expectation. They feel that the social Europe is
in a state of crisis and
that the emphasis on liberalisation and pan-European competition
is benefiting profits rather than the ideas of peace and international understanding.
The opportunities provided by the peaceful coexistence of so many different
nations and cultures are too often overshadowed by purely economic considerations.
Many of the worries are focused on the permanent calls for ever more drastic
cuts in corporate spending which do not gain in plausibility through
People feel they are being abandoned in their need of defending themselves
against the risks of illness and old age. Europe is being identified with
all the negative effects of globalisation.
|On behalf of these people, one has to raise some serious
questions about the social security systems: Is the level of pensions really
high enough? Do our healthcare and
nursing care systems reach the levels of quality appropriate for a wealthy
society and adequate for the needs of the people who rely on them for their
Even if we take into account the need for increased spending, our growing
economies will create a cornucopia of private and social wealth. Our societies
have become very wealthy indeed, and we can continue to grow as societies
which can well afford sufficient welfare provisions.
While considering to restrict the first (contribution-funded) pillar of
our social security systems to basic levels of provision, the EPP holds
the opinion that this basic level must still allow people to lead their
lives in self-respect and dignity.
The discussion about the distribution of costs will need to measure public
systems by the same criteria, foregoing any ideological prejudice: the focus
on cost control and the stimulation of the employment market. Cost analyses
not be limited to the costs shouldered by the enterprises, but take in the
contributions of ordinary citizens. A re-distribution of costs from one
level to the other
does not constitute a substantial improvement of the system.
the structures of European social dialogue – work organisation and
environment (evaluation seminar)
Tallinn (Estonia), 03-04.03.2006
|The two-year project is designed for workers’
organisations in the Central and Eastern European countries of the European
Union and the candidate countries. It aims to identify the different status
of social dialogue in the Central and Eastern countries of the EU and the
candidate countries, show possibilities for strengthening social dialogue
and define the need for adaptation (taking the general legal conditions
into consideration as well) in the European process of integration.
The aim of the evaluation seminar is to evaluate
the results of the ten working groups that have met during the year in
the Central and Eastern European countries.
On 04.03.2006, the title of speech of the Secretary General, Bert Van
Caelenberg, will be “Implementation of basic ethical values in social
partnership form the example of the public service – nation-, Europe-
Organisation: Eurofedop in cooperation with ETÖK (Estonian Centre
for Work-Related Questions)
Day 2006 - Public Health
|The Commission is in the process of adopting
the 2006 Work Plan for the implementation of the Public Health Programme
(2003-2008). The Public Health Programme is a key instrument for mromoting
EU action and financing in this field.
A call for Proposals was published immediately after the adoption of the
annual work plan. This 2006 Call for Prposals will be het most important
means of implementing the 2006 Work Plan and the main financing instrument
for the programme activities.
Bert Van Caelenberg was present for Eurofedop
at the Information Day.
He participated in the Health Information and Knowledge workshop and noted
there that the European Commission shows great interest in the item of
‘the migration of health professionals’.
At the Trade Council Health Services on 19 June next, the Commission will
be present to give more information on its programme.
All documents are available on the Internet.
on Postal Services Studies
Brussels (Centre Borschette), 21.02.2006
|Our representatives Lieve Vanoverbeke (ACV Transcom-Belgium)
and Manfred Wiedner (GPF-Austria) were present at a workshop at which presentations
were given on the studies concerning the ‘impact on universal service
of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009’
(PricewaterhouseCooper) and ‘main developments in the postal sector’
These studies will be further discussed at the Trade Council Post and Telecom
in Dubrovnik on 02/06/2006.
The impact of these studies will be of the
greatest importance to the Postal sector.
We will also invite the European Commission to come and give more explanation
on these activities.
After we will have determined our position on the studies’ results,
we will also inform the European Parliament of this position.
Federal Minister of Justice, Magister Karin Gastinger, presented the action
programme of the Austrian Presidency
|The Academy of European Law (ERA), that was founded
in 1992 to provide legal practitioners with training and a forum for debate
on the latest developments in European Law, had the honour of hosting this
For EUROFEDOP, secretary general Bert Van Caelenberg was present and spoke
with the Minister about the positions taken by the Trade Council Justice
The Minister stressed that the rights to freedom and security, to the respect
of private and family life and to data protection need to be guaranteed.
This is what Union citizens expect from an area of freedom, security and
justice! The same applies to judicial rights, where I would particularly
like to emphasise the rights to legal remedies as well as the presumption
of innocence and the rights of defence. The core issue here, particularly
in the framework of mutual recognition, is how and with what instruments
these basic principles can be protected.
The Austrian presidency will press for minimum
standards in the procedures for the recognition and enforcement of judicial
decisions which have been delivered in other member states. These standards
are necessary to ensure that the right of the accused to a fair and just
trial, which is enshrined in different procedural laws of member states
in different ways, can also be guaranteed even in cases where investigating
authorities from several member states are involved. This way we hope
to overcome the deadlocked discussions in the Council on minimum procedural
standards which were also burdened by doubts on the additional benefits
these would confer compared to the obligations laid down in Article 6
of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Useful links : www.era.int and www.eu2006.at
Rome (Palace of Congresses), 02-04.02.2006
Polverini is the new General Secretary; Cetica
is the President
Renata Polverini, 43 years old, is the new General Secretary of Ugl.
She succeeds to Stefano Cetica, who becomes the new President of the organisation.
Polverini is the first woman who is leader of a trade-union, in Italy.
In fact, the delegates of General Union of Labour Second Confederal Congress
(which took place in Rome, Palace of Congresses, from 2 to 4 February)
have elected the new trade-union leadership.
The General Secretary of Cgil, Guglielmo Epifani, and of Cisl, Savino
Pezzotta, took part in the third session day of Congress. Adriano Musi,
number two of Uil, was also present, and Pierpaolo Baretta (Cisl Confederal
Secretary) and Carla Cantone (Cgil Confederal Secretary).
Also the Minister of Public Function, Mario Baccini, took part in the
Congress and he said that "our Country can be governed with a strong
pact between all the social parts".
"Many people was surprised by the presence of the three confederal
trade-unions here - Pezzotta – these trade-unions are called “The
Triple (Alliance, translator’s note)”, term that must been
abolished". "I think that – he explains then – our
presence here means that in a bipolar political system a bipolar trade-union
system too cannot exist. Even if with different ideas, it isn’t
useful a bipolar trade-union movement and I’m sure that politicians
will not agree with this".
"It’s the first time that a Cgil General Secretary takes the
floor in a Ugl conference – with these words Epifani has started
his speech - and I seriously appreciate the efforts that have led you
to be a modern trade-union with a strong identity and autonomy".
According to Cgil’s General Secretary: "Autonomy is fundamental
and it cannot be conquered once and for all, but it is a continuous process,
a constant search that sink in the rigorous ability to construct an independent
point of view on processes and problems which concern labour. Therefore
I think that you have achieved this goal since when you changed name and
from the old Cisnal you have built Ugl".
The Congress started with the participation of the outgoing General Secretary,
Stefano Cetica. In its relation he made a strong request, among other
things, in order to resume "as soon as possible a policy for the
economic development of Southern Italy, as it was decided in the Pact
Instead Cetica has asked to employers to focus their attention to the
"core business", aiming for research, modernisation of structures,
improvement of productivity.
According to Cetica, in fact, "it is difficult to watch with optimism
to the future of our economy if some obstacles to the development are
not removed". Cetica then is taken part in the debate on reform of
collective bargaining agreements. "We want disillusion of who try
to minimise national contracts with the proposal of local contracts for
the main competencies".
These clear words have found a confirmation in the introductory relation
of the new General Secretary, Renata Polverini.
"We have to fight against both old and new poverty - Polverini said
- it is necessary to have a State, which is able to guarantee freedom
and initiative, and also the conditions, which permit to private citizens
and intermediate bodies to give many of the answers previously supplied
by public sector, not always adequately".
Ugl General Secretary continued saying: "What we reject is the attack
waged against our systems of social protection, which are considered as
hitches for Country's competitiveness".
According to Polverini, therefore, "It should be recognised the necessity
to concentrate the public resources in those functions that market is
incapable to carry out, if not in an unequal way. Or in an expensive way,
as it happens, too much often, in the case of the health services".
During the three days of UGL Congress session, the authorities were present
in large number, both from institutional and labour world.
They were present, among the others: Gianfranco Fini (Vice-president of
Council), Gianni Letta (Under-secretary of the Presidency of the Council),
Roberto Maroni (Minister of Labour) and Altero Matteoli (Minister of Environment),
the Vice-minister Mario Tassone, the Under-secretaries of Ministry of
Labour, Pasquale Viespoli and Maurizio Sacconi, the Mayor of Rome, Walter
There were also: Uil General Secretary, Luigi Angeletti, Cisl Confederal
Secretary, Bonanni, Cisal General Secretary, Cavallaro.
They were present: as representatives of Eurofedop, the General Secretary,
Bert Van Caelenberg, and the Treasurer, Wilhelm Gloss; moreover, the President
of BSPSH Gezim Kalaja, Roberta Angelilli, Member of the European Parliament.
Maurizio Beretta and Giorgio Usai took part in the Congress in the name
UGL International Office
directive - State of play
a) State of play
In November 2005 the Committee Internal Market (IMCO) of the European
Parliament adopted an amended version of the GEBHARDT report. The 14th
of February this report will be presented in plenary for a first reading.
Since the outcome in IMCO was very close it is not sure that some of the
amendments will be carried in plenary. Divisions run through all political
groups and between old and new member states. In the meantime, the European
Commission has already announced that it will publish a revamped draft
before the March Council summit.
This note will highlight some of the results of the vote in IMCO and point
out a number of legal uncertainties. The emphasis will be on services
of general interest and the country of origin principle.
b) Scope of the directive
The initial proposal of the Commission already excluded financial services
and services governed by existing EU legislation such as postal and telecommunication
services. The committee also excluded: services of general interest "as
defined by the Member States", gambling, notaries and audiovisual
Regarding health services, the amended directive excludes: "healthcare,
whether or not it is provided via healthcare facilities, and regardless
of the ways in which it is organised and financed at national level or
whether it is public or private". This provision was adopted with
a slim majority (20 + and 18 -) of PSE and French, Belgian an Swedish
members of the PPE.
Finally, article 2 also says that: "This directive shall not apply
to the liberalisation of services of general economic interest, or to
the privatisation of public entities providing such services".
Recital 8 of the draft directive excludes "services of general interest
that are provided and defined by the Member States". The present
text contains references to SGI without, however, attempting to define
them. According to legal experts the exclusion of the SGI cannot be guaranteed.
Because there is no definition, an activity could fall within the scope
of the directive in one Member State but not in another.
Regarding the services of general economic interest (SGEI), their exclusion
(proposed by GEBHARDT) did not find a majority. The concept of SGEI is
defined (article 4) and used several times in the body of the directive.
These references however do not give an identical definition of SGEI.
In regard to situations which may be described as dual, where an undertaking
or entity performs both SGI and SGEI tasks, the draft-directive applies
the principle of dissociation of the activities in question. It will,
therefore, apply the rules of Community law only to economic activities
that can be dissociated from SGEI activities. In practice this distinction
is, of course, sometimes difficult to make.
d) Country of origin principle/Freedom to provide services
Legal experts have criticised this principle because it will cause a competition
between national legislations and is thus contrary to the realisation
of the internal market. Although the principle already exists in Community
legislation such as the "Television without frontiers directive",
it seems legally questionable to turn it into a general rule. Moreover
the list of derogations seems to indicate that the country of origin principle
is not at all generally accepted. The effective control by the country
of origin in all other member states seems rather difficult to implement.
The proposal of the rapporteur, which was to make a distinction between
access (= country where provider is established) and exercise of services,
was not followed by a majority. Article 16 reaffirms the country of origin
principle but the rights of control by the country where the service is
provided are enhanced. Contrary to the Commission's proposal the country
of destination is allowed to enforce its specific requirements with regard
to "the exercise of a service activity that are indispensable for
reasons of public policy or public security".
A number of derogations of the general principle are also mentioned in
the draft (Article 17).
"Article 16 shall not apply to:
(1) Services of general economic interest which are provided in another
(2) Postal services covered by Directive 97/67/EC of the European Parliament
and of the Council;"
Furthermore it is specified that "This Directive shall be without
prejudice to labour law, and, in particular, to any provisions on relations
between the social partners, including the right to take industrial action
and the right to collective agreements. This Directive shall not affect
national social security legislation in the Member States." Article
Finally, recital 7 recognises the roles of the social partners in the
regulation of service activities. They were not mentioned in the original
proposal of the European Commission. According to the Parliament the social
partners should be informed and should be able to take part in the drafting
on implementing the OECD anti-bribery convention:
the role of trade unions
Paris, 23 January 2006
- Increase awareness of bribery and corruption and its implications for
- Improve awareness of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public
Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Anti-bribery Convention)
and other anti-corruption instruments and their relevance to trade unions
- Improve understanding of the trade union role in enhancing the enforcement
of the Convention and other anti-corruption activities
- Identify trade union priorities and resource needs
The meeting will discuss the following themes:
- Anti-corruption Instruments
OECD work on corruption including the OECD Guidelines for MNEs in perspective
of the broader international efforts to prevent and combat corruption
- Trade Unions Combating Corruption
- Monitoring implementation and enforcement of the OECD Anti-bribery Convention
and related instruments
Anti-bribery Convention Phase 2/Follow-up and the role of trade unions
- Trade Union Priorities: where to go from here?
Forum ”Integration of new member organisations”
12.01.2006, Centre Borschette, Brussels
|The Liaison Forum is a well-established institution
for information and exchange of views with both sectoral and cross-industry
In 2006, a first session of the liasion forum took place on 12.01.2006.
It was more specifically intended for the presentation of social partners
initiatives and the exchange of ideas and information on tools and information
sources available to the social partners in this context.
The trade unions and employers gave information about initiatives that have
been taken in the new countries. After an analysis of the needs, an overview
of restructuring measures and the development of competencies, finally study
centres have been created in these countries. To know the needs and give
them necessary attention, to build up strong links, to take account of national
realities and to bring around the table real responsibilities and competent
people, have been the challenges.
Some of these objectives have been reached, others have not. The EU has
co-financed most of these initiatives.
Difficulties to sit around the table with the employers have been successfully
solved e.g. by UNI in the commerce sector. The local sector on the other
hand is facing a lot of difficulties to discover who the real employers
are. Nevertheless, this is one of the necessary requirements for the recognition
as European social partners. The quality thinking that Eurofedop built its
Congress on in 1998 is also an element that is more and more getting through
to these partners.
The European Foundation for the Improvement
of Living and Working Conditions gave more information on its model for
capacity building for social dialogue. This institute also gave a demonstration
on the use of its website. In this respect, especially the “Industrial
Relations Dictionary” was explained.
An expert of the division EMPL/D1 and TAIEX (Technical Assistance and
Information Exchange Instrument, http://taiex.cec.eu.int/)
outlined the possibilities of getting financial support. They can send
experts and finance workshops and translations.
It will be possible to visit online the budget lines VP/2006/001 and 002
and also obligatory to introduce requests online.
Finally, the Commission also made some communications. Thus it will continue
to execute a number of representativeness studies in 2006, in sectors
such as Telecom, Transport and Health Services. Its intention with these
studies is to obtain a “photograph” of the key role players
in these sectors on the ground, also especially following the enlargement.
The participants’ attention was also drawn to the various publications
on the theme of the year 2006 : “Mobility”. The Austrian Presidency
will put this theme on the agenda of the Public Services Troika of 29.05.2006.
on time spent on call.
|Following the judgment in the Jaeger case, according
to which time spent on call is considered working time in services such
as emergency services, fire brigades and other continuous services, the
Court of Justice delivered judgment in the case C-14/04 of Abdelkader Dellas
The trade unions in France had taken this case to court in France. Subsequently,
the French court passed this case on to the Court of Justice in Luxemburg.
The question was whether the provisions of directive 93/104 had been respected.
Only part of the time spent on call by this
teacher in an institution for the young handicapped had namely been taken
into account by the employer. As a result, the number of working hours
performed by this worker quickly reached above 60 hours per week. As the
directive rules that the working time may not exceed 48 hours per week,
the French regulation is not in conformity with the European directive.