The CoR/EESC/SSGI conference was, essentially, the occasion to present the study on "The SSGI in the internal market of the 21st century - implications of the new reform Treaty" realized by the SSGI collective together with the Committee of Regions, the European economic and social Committee and with the participation of the European Parliament, resulting in a common publication. The three institutions were represented by their respective SSGI Reporters and in the persons of Michel Delebarre (President of the CoR) and of Dimitris Dimitriadis (President of the EESC) who introduced and signed this common study.
This file aims at relaying SSGI-relative works accomplished during the Portuguese presidency, (re)launches the debate on the legislative clarification around SSGI's and claims to be a tool for the promotion and the renovation of the SSGI's. This conference allowed the adoption of a common position of the CoR, the CESE and the Parliament consisting in the expression of a general will to not consider the SSGI debate officially closed.
We insist on the fact that this common position is synonym of a statement of intent, thus having no legal value as such. This will is a frank reaction to the Commission's attitude which, on the pretext of the annexation of a SIG Protocol 19 in the new reform Treaty and new provisions of the article 14 introducing a legal base on the services of general interest, justifies the annexation of the planned communication of the Commission on SSGI's to the communication on the revision of the internal market as well as the actual closing of the SIG/SSGI debate.
The Commission thus considers that the legal regime applicable to the SGI / SSGI corresponds to community law. On the other hand, the CoR/EESC/EP insisted on the necessity and the urgent need of a legal clarification around SSGI's which are still regulated by simple application of the case law of the Court. Their common will to make the SSGI-applicable legal regime evolve towards the “derived community law” aiming in particular at the creation of a sector-based directive for SSGI's allowing legal precision and the creation of a specific and clear legislation on the SSGI's.
The relayed anxieties indeed concerned the need of legal reassurance for the SSGI's, the challenges implicated by the transposition of the services directive in the national legislations and implying the problem of individualized mandating for each member state according to its specificities. Opposed to the Commission's insurances short-circuiting legal debate by evocating the existence of Protocol 19 and art 14, the CoR, the EESC and the European Parliament insisted on the fact that the existing case law does not answer the concrete problems of public authorities and wonder about the legal validity of the annexed documents.
Effectively, the three participants of the SSGI study collectively declared the necessity:
1) to not loosen pressure in a general
2) to maintain the pressure on member states in order to force the political recapture of the debate by the Council
3) to not play in the Commission's game and to assist the resumption of the debate, at the political level, by the Parliament and the Council.
Concerning the “Social Economy” Intergroup meeting, M. Jacques Toubon (European deputy invited to present his report on the re-examination of the internal market) asserted on the necessity of a political initiative (at PE level thus) in favour of the adoption of a sector-based directive for the SSGI's and that it was (within the EP) of the responsibility of the “Social Economy” Intergroup to continue lobbying on this subject.
He also declared that, according to him, this theme would be topical neither, before the EP 2009 elections nor, before the French presidency (On which he counts a lot to put this question in the agenda; how, he does not know himself).