No access to Europe for British accountants

British accountants will be denied previously-proposed European Union (EU)
rights to freely provide services in all 25 EU member states, it has been

The EU Council of Ministers for competition on Monday (24-7) formally
approved a watered down services directive, initially designed to allow EU
accountants and other service providers to work across the union, under their
home country’s regulations.

This proposal generated protest from countries such as France that jealously
guard their professions’ prerogatives, and as a result, a less liberal directive
has now received its first reading from the council and the European Parliament.

As well as abandoning mutual recognition of foreign EU controls, the amended
directive explicitly excludes all financial services from remaining rights that
it underpins, such as the freedom to offer services, albeit under the host
country’s control.

Despite this, the council maintained the directive would ‘remove legal and
administrative barriers to (some non-financial) service activities’. A second
reading will now follow.

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