Blog AnalysisSocial Policy

The return of Bolkestein sows trouble...

(B2) The vote, on May 8, in the parliamentary committee for the return of health in the Services directive (ex-Bolkestein) is causing trouble in Parliament.

If Toine Manders (the Dutch liberal author of this nice dirty trick) struts in the corridors, at Janelly Fourtou (UDF, member of ALDE), we try as best we can to explain that “no the MP did not voted for the disputed amendment (172)”. Or at least didn't want to vote for it. Except that more than one pair of eyes saw him doing the “Ola” with his liberal and democratic counterparts, raising his hand or lowering it, at the discretion of his row neighbors, including “little Bolkestein” (Toine Manders ).

The Frenchman from the UMP, Jacques Toubon (PPE-DE) published an angry press release, “protesting against the calling into question of the services directive”. He voted against this amendment (he often voted with the socialists during this vote). But abstained – with his Belgian colleague Marianne Thyssen – at the fateful moment of the vote on the report (and 2 votes were enough to swing the majority).

Swedish Christian Democrat Charlotte Cederschiöld after issuing a victorious statement like “ it is the best voice to achieve free movement and also for patients, the best way to most easily find care throughout the European Union and not just at home ". Before publishing a few hours later a to be corrected somewhat softening this ultra-liberal position.

In the meantime, the leaders of the two main groups, the French Joseph Daul (for the Christian Democrats of the EPP, European People's Party) and the German, Martin Schulz (for the Socialists) had spoken together. “ Mr. Daul confirmed to me that his group does not support the vote of its members. He remains faithful to the agreement he concluded with the Socialist Group which provides for excluding health services from the scope of the Services Directive. »Assured Martin Schulz after this interview. " The attempt by some EPP members to resurrect the Bolkenstein directive is completely irresponsible. It is truly the worst service to be rendered to Europe, at a time when it is trying to regain the trust of its citizens, to want to undertake a liberalization of social services of general interest. Said Harlem Désir.

At the European Commission, perplexity seems to be in order even if there is still no official reaction. “ The European Parliament has already expressed itself clearly on the exclusion of healthcare from the Services Directive and called for a specific proposal (on this issue). We have started a long consultation process. Rather than formulating any hypothesis, we will (therefore) wait for the vote in plenary to express ourselves. “Explained Philippe Tod, spokesman for European Commissioner for Health, Markos Kyprianou.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).