From Socialist Voice, April 2005


We send congratulation to our French comrades in the CGT who cut the electricity to the French home of Frits Bolkestein, a Dutch former European commissioner. He was responsible for the directive subsequently withdrawn (very rapidly) by Charlie McCreevy by which small and large service providers could cross European borders. The conditions and regulations of the home country of a business would apply anywhere in the European Union in which it was providing services.
     This directive would have resulted in the application of the lowest standards in relation to wages, conditions, safety and training being applied, which would have undermined the conditions of many thousands if not millions of workers throughout the European Union. It would have forced down wages and destroyed conditions won over many decades by European workers.
     The directive was withdrawn when it became a major factor in the French referendum campaign on the EU Constitution and in other member-states. But it is clear that the EU Commission has accepted the idea and agrees with its central thrust, so this is just a tactical withdrawal, to be reintroduced if and when the constitution has been ratified.
     Bolkestein may have trouble getting his luxury home in France reconnected to the electricity grid. Sometimes justice comes in small quantities, but it is still worth savouring.

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