It seems that the German backed stitch up of the Services Directive this week has had a similar effect on some Eastern European politicians as Chirac's infamous "A good time to shut up" comment did after the letter of ten supporting the Coalition intervention in Iraq.
Below is a joint letter sent in by the leaders of the Eastern European EPP/ED MEPs, and remeber this is them being diplomatic,
of the Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Slovak EPP-ED Delegations
on the SERVICES DIRECTIVE
Strasbourg, 16 February 2006
The Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Slovak EPP-ED Delegations in the European Parliament wish to express their disappointment on the dilution and weakening of the Services Directive. The founding Treaty of Rome already included the principle of the free movement of services, and the draft Services Directive raised hopes that after 50 years this freedom will finally be attained. However, the text adopted by Parliament today has sadly been bereaved of some of its most fundamental parts. In particular, it is unacceptable that the Directive leaves serious restrictions on the freedom of the posting of workers - a freedom without which no real competition can emerge in the services market. It is regrettable that many in the European Union seem only to be advocates of competition in words, but not in deeds. It remains our clear opinion that the services market of the EU must be opened up to competition if we are serious about achieving the Lisbon goals, boost the growth of our economies and create jobs. We do not think that the current version of the Directive is sufficient to achieve that. Therefore, further steps must be made for a better Services Directive in the coming months.
Jan ZAHRADIL, MEP - EPP-ED Czech Republic
Tunne KELAM, MEP - EPP-ED Estonia
József SZÁJER, MEP - EPP-ED Hungary
Valdis DOMBROVSKIS, MEP - EPP-ED Latvia
Laima ANDRIKIENÉ, MEP - EPP-ED Lithuania
Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI, MEP - EPP-ED Poland
Zita PLESTINSKA, MEP - EPP-ED Slovakia
The Services Directive had been stitched up by a combination of the EPP/ED leader, Hans/Gert Peottering (CDU) and Martin 'capo' Schultz the German leader of the Socialist Group. British Tory, Malcolm Harbour and Belgian Christian Democrat Marrianne Thyssen had been set the task of reaching a compromise with the socialists. The problem is that the socialists and the two nominal free marketeers both new that the EPP wanted a deal at ANY cost. Thus the socialists demanded and got the complete castration of the directive.
At the EPP group meeting German and French speakers dominated the hour and a half session with German Poettring in the chair. Othmar Karas, (Geramn CDU) was given the floor for twenty minutes at the start of the meeting and another five to wrap up. Speaker after speaker blamed the eastern Europeans for 'lack of gratitude'. All opposition voices - were given no more than a minute at a time to voice opposition all bunched together in a 20 minute block. At one point the Chairman even said, and I paraphrase, "You Poles need to be grateful to Germany and to me personally, if it wasn't for my work on the Parliament's enlargement Committee you wouldn't even be here".
At the end of the discussion, when everybody expected a vote he said, 'Well it seems we all agree', and went onto the next item on the agenda.
Slowly Eastern Europe will wake up, they and their interests have been royally shafted by joining the EU. They are second class citizens, there to provide markets for the EU's economic lebensraum.