Social services look set to be excluded from a European directive that would have opened them up to competition from across the European Union.
The European Commission has backed an earlier decision by members of the European Parliament (Door opens to continental providers, 9 March) by excluding social services “relating to social housing, child care and support to families and persons in need” from the latest draft of the Services Directive.
The directive, which would remove all national administrative and legal impediments to open competition across the union, will now be considered by the EU Council of Ministers in June.
Dominic Rowles, policy and public affairs officer at the Local Government International Bureau, said he was happy with the exclusion of social services. He said the council was unlikely to reverse the exemption because the directive was primarily aimed at commercial activities.
The commission has also removed from the directive the “country of origin” principle, which would have allowed organisations to operate temporarily under the regulations of their home country anywhere in the EU.