European social care market off agenda

Social services in the UK are unlikely to be opened up to continental competition following a decision by the Council of the European Union this week.

The council of ministers agreed a version of the draft services directive broadly similar to the one put forward by the European Parliament in February and agreed by the European Commission in April.

This opens service industries to competition across the EU but exempts social services.

The directive will now be given a second reading in the European Parliament, possibly before the end of the year.

The original form of the directive would have allowed organisations from anywhere in the EU to provide social services in another country under the regulatory framework of their home country, but it was amended by the European Parliament.

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