Public services such as Health and Education will remain under Irish control – Minister Martin
Speaking at the European Local Association Conference of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., today confirmed that the Lisbon Reform Treaty provides for vital public services such as Health and Education to remain under the control of each Member State. He rejected claims that the Treaty could pave the way for the privatisation of these services.
The Minister said that: “These unfounded claims are based on a
misreading of a particular Treaty Article relating to the Union’s
common commercial policy. Public services are given special status
in a new protocol under the Lisbon Reform Treaty.”
The Minister continued: “The Protocol affirms that the provisions of the Treaties do not in any way affect the competence of the Member States to provide, commission and organise services such as education and health. This means that these services will remain under the effective control of each Member State.
Those who assert that our social services are under threat of privatisation because of the Lisbon Reform Treaty seem to believe that European countries with highly developed social services would allow those services to shift from their national control. They would not and nor would we!
The simple fact is that public services such as health and education are a matter for national Governments. The Lisbon Reform Treaty clearly confirms that these services will remain within the competence of Member States.”
Note for Editors:
It has been claimed that the Lisbon Treaty creates the legal basis for public services – health and education in particular – to be privatised.
Article 207, paragraph 3 of the EU Treaties as amended by the
Treaty of Lisbon, has been cited in support of this claim. It
states that, for agreements with third countries or international
organisations, the Council shall act by qualified majority.
However, paragraph 4 of the same Article states that “the Council
shall act unanimously for the negotiation and conclusion of
agreements in the field of trade in social, education and health
services, where these agreements risk seriously disturbing the
national organisation of such services and prejudicing the
responsibility of Member States to deliver them”.
Additionally, public services are given special status in a new protocol under the Lisbon Reform Treaty, which affirms that the provisions of the Treaties do not in any way affect the competence of the Member States to provide, commission and organise services of general interest, e.g., health and education.
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