Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, I recognise that this compromise is something of an improvement on the Commission’s original proposal. I also recognise that it is necessary and desirable to remove the remaining barriers to the cross-border provision of commercial services. However, I believe that we should, in the process, provide legal certainty – and I mean ‘certainty’ – to providers of essential public services and, more importantly, provide reassurances to the many citizens who depend strongly upon locally provided social services. Verbal assurances given in good faith, I fully accept, are not what will be used by judges in the event of court challenges in the future. It is the text of a directive that will be important. That is why I have signed a number of amendments, such as Amendment 31, which make it absolutely clear that it would be Member States who define services of general interest in their territory. I would ask colleagues to accept that this is a reasonable amendment and should be adopted, amongst others.

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