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EU Promises For More Dynamic Services Market Are Just Promises- Until Now That Is. Based on Story by The Economist Printed Edition of November 1, 2001
Nov 5, 2001

European Union leaders agreed to liberalize the internal market for services in an effort to create a more dynamic economy in the Lisbon Summit in March 2000. The initiative contained efforts to liberalize energy services, telecommunications, financial services and postal services among other services industries. Yet, little progress has been achieved until now with the exception of postal services were agreement has been reached at last earlier this year. The EU Commission estimates that 50% of the postal services market will be competitive by the year 2006, although governments could not agree on a date for completion of the liberalization process. On energy services French authorities have opposed progress and prospects for liberalization before the French election seem poor. On financial services things are not much more different. The programme devised by Alexandre Lamfalussy earlier this year to open financial services markets has faced opposition in the implementation process by governments and the European Parliament. The European Parliament has opposed plans by Mr Lamfalussy to amend financial-services legislation. It has also blocked a directive that made cross-border takeovers easier earlier this year. National governments have expressed reservations on certain details of the programme. The British would like to have a consultation process with firms involved, while German government has expressed concerns with the right of several governments to keep golden shares in large services companies. This is the case of Italy and Spain, which have argued that keeping this shares allows them to prevent takeover plans by the French state-owned Electricité de France (EDF), which in turn has benefited from monopoly rights in French power markets. In patents and the liberalization of local telephony and internet services early agreements have faced surmounting trouble in the implementation process were national agencies have either stuck to their national practices or resisted any plans to cede power to the European level.

For additional information see The Economist at:

http://www. Economist.com

On the Lamfalussy Programme see:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/finances/banks/wisemen.htm

On the energy initiatives see:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/index_en.html

On the EU patent see:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/

On postal services see:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/postal/index.htm

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