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TUAEUC digest 11/01/08

 Controversial EU Health Directive delayed to avoid jeopardising Lisbon Treaty ratification    

According to a report in EUobserver, the European Commission last month delayed proposals to develop a ‘market’ in healthcare due to protests among member states, Commission officials are now admitting. The proposals on patients' right to medical treatment in other member states, due to be unveiled on 19 December, were shelved at the last minute following heavy criticism. The official line for withdrawing the legislation at the time was a "very over-loaded agenda" and problems with the impact assessment, but now Commission officials have said that, "several member states were against [the proposal] because they thought it would destroy their national health systems," with Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands said to be among those with the strongest objections.

Danish MEP and head of the European Socialists Party Poul Nyrup Rasmussen also actively lobbied against the bill, writing to Commissioners with social democrat connections early in December to say the draft proposal was unacceptable. He feared that the debate about the legislation could undermine ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. "If the Commission presents the directive in its current form, it will create political chaos in some member states in a very sensitive period with ratification of the treaty and the run-up to European Parliament elections in 2009," his letter says, according to Danish daily Politiken. Margot Wallstrom is thought to be the Commissioner that fought hardest to take the proposal off the agenda, saying that it risked becoming "a new services directive".

EUobserver Politiken

Sarkozy: "the consolidation of European defence capacities will be our priority"

PA reports that European defence will be a priority when France takes over the rotating EU presidency in the second half of this year, according to President Sarkozy.  He told French soldiers and veterans: "Today, Europe does not make all the efforts needed for the defence and protection of Europeans." He said France "could not be satisfied with this situation. That is why the consolidation of European defence capacities will be our priority as we preside over the European Union".


 BBC reports that military officials today are expected to give their approval to a 3,700 strong EU military force in Chad and the Central African Republic, near oil-rich Sudan .


  TUAEUC has produced a new pamphlet outlining why trade unionists should demand a referendum on the renamed EU Constitution. It has also produced a document arguing the democratic case against the EU Constitution and copies of both are available free on request