An opportunity for British accountants to work in other European Union (EU) countries under their own standards and professional bodies, appears to have been lost at last week?s (March 22-23) EU summit in Brussels.
Heads of government agreed to rewrite a proposed services directive put forward last year by former internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein, after pressure from Germany, France and others.
Their key objection was a proposed ‘rule of origin’ allowing any service provider legally established in a member state to ply their trade across the EU, while complying with the professional regulations of their home country.
Paris and Berlin feared their highly regulated services would have been adversely affected by lighter regulated service providers, especially those from eastern Europe.
The summit agreed the current draft failed to ‘preserve the European social model’ of higher salaries and taxes.
The debate now shifts to the European Parliament, which will propose its own amendments to the directive.
German MEP Evelyne Gebhardt has told France’s Le Figaro newspaper that she would propose writing the principle of ‘mutual recognition’ into the law, which can enable governments make additional demands on service providers.
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