PN210705B

IMMEDIATE

THURSDAY 21 JULY 2005

LORDS REPORT SUPPORTS THRUST OF EU SERVICES DIRECTIVE DESIGNED TO OPEN UP THE SINGLE MARKET

The Lords EU Committee on the Internal Market today publishes a new report which supports the EU Commission's controversial proposal to encourage greater cross-border trade in services.

The Commission's proposed Services Directive seeks to provide a legal framework to eliminate obstacles for companies and individuals to establish their business in any Member State and allow freer movement of services.

The report examines criticisms of the Directive's 'country of origin principle' which allows a business to provide services on a temporary basis in any other Member State according to the regulations of its home Member State.

The Chairman of the Committee Lord Woolmer of Leeds said:

"Trade in services across the EU remains bogged down by restrictions, which limit choice for consumers and businesses and hold back innovation and growth in output and employment."

"In our view the thrust of the draft Directive should be supported. It's essential to remove unnecessary and unjustified obstacles to trade to benefit EU citizens and businesses and to make the European Union more competitive globally."

"The proposal offers big opportunities for small and medium size service industry businesses in all 25 Member States of the European Union."

"Many arguments raised against the draft Directive appear to be either based upon misunderstanding or seek to obstruct change and the effective operation of the free movement of services in the EU. Such obstructions will hamper greater competition and innovation, increased choice and lower prices for consumers and business."

"In our view the Directive doesn't pose a threat to the health and safety of employees or consumers or to environmental standards."

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. The inquiry was conducted by Sub-Committee B (Internal Market) of the European Union Committee. The members of the Sub-Committee are:

Baroness Eccles of Moulton

Lord Fearn

Lord Geddes

Lord Haskel

Lord Roper

Lord St. John of Bletso

Lord Swinfen

Lord Walpole

Lord Woolmer of Leeds (Chairman)

2. The report is published by The Stationery Office: Completing the Internal Market in Services , House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, 6th Report, Session 2005−06, HL Paper 23, ISBN 010 400733 8, price £23.00  The full text of the report will be available on the internet via www.parliament.uk shortly after publication.

For copies of the report please contact:

Jillian Bailey, Press and Publicity Officer (Committees) on 020 7219 8659.

For further information please contact:

Anna Murphy, Clerk to the Sub-Committee on 020 7219 5864.

[ENDS]