Friday, February 17, 2006

Frankenstein is dead! (Promise, Monks!)

From the website of the European Trade Union Confederation:

"The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) regards the result of the European Parliament (EP) vote on the Services Directive as a real victory for European workers. The European Parliament has today approved, by a large majority, the compromise reached by the main political groups in the Parliament, at the same time burying the initial Bolkestein proposal and putting a new text in its place."

This is of course fantastic news. And I think and hope that this can be the start of a new dawn for the European left: the EU is not simply a neo-liberal project, it is also a “campo di possibilità” (field of opportunities), like Gramsci used to say.

The mobilization of the European trade union movement has indeed been impressive, as have the cooperation between the ETUC and social democratic members of the European Parliament like Evelyne Gebhardt and Jan Andersson. But John Monks, secretary general of the ETUC, underlines that the battle is not won yet. Now the issue goes back to the Commission and the Council of Ministers. But the old “Frankenstein directive” should and must be buried now, and hopefully this compromise will be the final one.

So I say congrats, John Monks. But tomorrow (Saturday) we will be on different sides in another not as important, but still indeed very important, battle: Liverpool FC-Manchester United, the FA cup, 5th round.
(Photo by Tommy Svensson)


Anonymous Jon Worth said...

Eric - I agree with you on a lot of things, but on this one I think you are wide of the mark... I don't think that the decision on the Services Directive in the EP really suits anyone at all. It's clear that a solid strategy to boost the services sector is needed, but the complete mess of a text that emerged from the vote does not really suit anyone. OK, Monks can claim a victory, but McCreevy is also claiming victory. In fact, I don't know if anyone really understands quite what was agreed.

While workers may well be protected a bit more, the events this week show the EP in a bad light, incapable of coherent decision making.

17/2/06 23:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to beleive that anyone could find this compromise exciting, except protectionistic socialists and union leaders at the most. This is the real race to the bottom. Lets see what will happen to the GNP in Europe the following years.


18/2/06 01:01  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

I agree that we first must see if the text will work, and I strongly underline that we need to create more jobs in the service sector in the EU. But I think the compromise was good because:
1. The working conditions in the country where the service is being offered must be respected.
2. Some important welfare sectors, where the countries themselves should decide if they want to open up for more trade, are excluded.
3. But within these important frames, we will hopefully get more trade.

And: I think that if the original Frankenstein-directive would have won, big chunks of the European left + trade unions would have turned its back on Europe even more. Hopefully this compromise can be one step back and two steps forward.


19/2/06 12:17  

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