The members of the Presidium of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), meeting in Brussels on 17th February 2006 and having discussed the outcome of the vote in the European Parliament on the proposed Directive on services in the internal market, have adopted the following resolution:
1. We welcome the European Parliament's decision to exclude health, social, cultural, education and audiovisual services from the scope of the draft Directive. It is imperative that the regions maintain their competencies in organising, financing and providing these services and thereby best serve the public interest.
2. We regret however that network services of an economic nature, such as telecommunications, banking services, electricity and other forms of energy, have also been removed from the Directive's scope. In order to maintain and more importantly increase Europe's competitiveness in a global market, it is crucial that true competition is achieved in these sectors, leading to the reduction of prices for the benefit of the citizens and companies.
3. We suggest that the European Parliament's decision to replace the country of origin' principle with the freedom to provide services' principle should be reconsidered. The objective of an internal market in services should be progressively applied in the European Union.
We call upon the President of the AER, Riccardo ILLY, to bring this resolution to the immediate attention of the Member States and the President of the European Commission.