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During its first working session, the European Council focused on the directive on services in the internal market. The Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, commented at length on the implications of the issue:
"I asked the President of the Commission and the members of the European Council to try to find a common agreement on the appropriate method to apply to the directive on the opening of the services market. We had an exchange of views. The debate was fruitful, which enabled us to agree on the steps to take.
We agreed that the internal market for services must become fully operational in order to be able to promote growth and employment and strengthen European competitiveness. However, the services market we wish to introduce must preserve the European social model.
The debates have shown that the current drafting of the proposal for the directive, which is the work of the former Commission, does not fully meet the demands I have just outlined, particularly regarding the due respect for the European social model. Therefore, the European Council requires that every effort is made within the framework of the current legislative procedure in order to bring about a broad consensus which will meet all the objectives I have just mentioned: opening the services market as well as respect for the European social model.
The directive will not be withdrawn. Only the Commission could do this. The European Council does not have the right to pass injunctions of this type to the European Commission. If the directive were withdrawn, we would give the impression that the opening of services had vanished from the European agenda. It must remain on the European agenda because the Lisbon Strategy, which speaks of growth, employment and competitiveness, requires us to open the services market.
The drafting of the directive's text will take into account the double imperative of the opening of the services market as well as respect for the European social model in accordance with the motto: Yes to the liberalisation of services, no to social dumping. Those who wish the services directive to be fashioned in such a way that employees lose all their rights, thereby bringing unhealthy pressure to bear on the level of salaries and diminishing employees’ rights through the opening up of the markets, are sadly mistaken.
We sometimes give the impression that Europe is largely indifferent to the consequences this directive has on the daily life of people. This is not true. Our work will be an in-depth examination of a response to the expectations that have been expressed. We are not taking this dossier lightly."
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