EU services plans won't lead to 'social dumping'

22nd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, March 22 (AFP) - EU plans to free up Europe's vast services sector should not lead to "social dumping," the bloc's presidency said Tuesday, seeking to allay concerns notably in France.

BRUSSELS, March 22 (AFP) - EU plans to free up Europe's vast services sector should not lead to "social dumping," the bloc's presidency said Tuesday, seeking to allay concerns notably in France.

Speaking as European Union (EU) leaders gathered for a summit clouded by French protests over the services plans, he reiterated that the EU is committed to liberalising the sector, notably to boost cross-border competition.

"But it is obvious that this opening up must occur without social dumping. We can't make Europe against the interests of the workers," he said.

Critics of the EU plans have been concerned about a "country-of-origin" clause which suggests that companies could provide services throughout the EU using the laws and regulations of their own country.

In France critics fear the plans will lead to the loss of jobs in rich, expensive western European countries at the expense of cheap labour from the ex-communist states of central Europe which joined the EU last year.

The protests are fuelling campaigners for a "no" vote in an upcoming French referendum on the EU'S first-ever constitution.

Two recent polls indicated that a majority of French voters could oppose the historic document in a May 29 referendum, which most analysts say would be a devastating blow to the expanding European Union.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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