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2005-03-15

Barroso defends country-of-origin principle 

AFP reports on a speech by Commission president JMD Barroso yesterday in Brussels, in which he confirmed that the Commission would not abandon the country-of-origin principle envisaged in the beleaguered Bolkestein-directive for the liberalisation of services (via L'Europe pour les nuls [FR]).

Whether this means that Barroso really believes he will be able to push this cornerstone of the directive through is anybody's guess, but at least this provides us with a provisional assumption about what is and what is not subject for open discussion at this point.

It seems clear that there are significant potentials for economic disruption in the service sector in the directive, which will lead to both positive and negative effects. The discussion should focus on how the positive effects (growth, efficiency) can be achieved without sacrificing too much (consumer protection, environmental regulation, labour markets in high-wage member states). Yes, this will require a fair amount of new regulation.


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