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CESI delegation meets Commissioner Barnier

Brussels, 10.05.2012

Monday 14 May 2012

It is time to revalue social rights, employment and the role of public sector in the internal market …

In a meeting with internal market and services Commissioner Michel Barnier, a CESI delegation led by Secretary-General Klaus Heeger highlighted the need to revalue the social dimension and the role of public sector. Klaus Heeger (Secretary-General), Bert van Caelenberg (Director), Raymond Hencks (representative of the stakeholder forum postal services) and Manfred Wiedner (President of the Trade Council Post and Telecommunication) campaigned for a stronger consideration of the social and employment aspects of privatisations and the outstanding role of the public sector in internal market legislation.

Commissioner Barnier presented his ideas on future development of the Single market which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. As the Commissioner underlined, defending a social market economy will remain of enormous importance to him.

Left to right: Manfred Wiedner, Michel Barnier, Klaus Heeger, Bert van Caelenberg, Raymond Hencks

Left to right: Manfred Wiedner, Michel Barnier, Klaus Heeger, Bert van Caelenberg, Raymond Hencks

In reference to the new primary law in force, Klaus Heeger advocated a new push for the social dimension in internal market rules: “The Lisbon Treaty with its transversal social clause, the new Protocol on Services of General Economic Interest and the Charter of Fundamental Rights are tremendously important tools when it comes to reassessing general privatization tendencies in the frame of the internal market. It is time to revalue social rights, employment issues and the public sector when implementing the four freedoms,” the Secretary-General stated. “One should not forget that service provision by public authorities can also be regarded as the backbone of European integration.”

Speaking for the Post and Telecom sector, Manfred Wiedner and Raymond Hencks emphasized that a free and liberalized post market “does not always provide the best results, as it can be witnessed by the quality decrease and laid-offs in the postal sector.” They pointed out that in the future interferences between public and private sector should be handled with greater involvement of public services. According to the Commissioner, these criticisms will have to be addressed by the next report on the postal directive´s implementation.

CESI Director Bert van Caelenberg deplored the general overall approach to justify private involvement in service deliveries with achieving better performance and cost reduction: “Privatisation as the inevitable consequence of liberalization has not been proven as the most efficient and cost-effective solution. What surely remains is that public authorities lose their influence, know-and specialized workforce, while remaining responsible for the delivery.”

Klaus Heeger concluded after the meeting: “We strongly called the European Commission to review its de facto pursuit of privatizations within the EU and to also more and more consider the benefits in-house deliveries of services.”

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