THE Balearic Government is to study ways of restricting the opening of large stores on the islands while still complying with the European Services Directive, known as the Bolkestein Directive. The Directive, which gives large stores the freedom to open anywhere within the EU, was approved by the European Parliament earlier this week.
It has to be incorporated into the legislation of the member countries of the EU within the next three years.
The director general of Commerce, Francesc Tutzo, said that the Directive would be studied at a national meeting of small and medium sized businesses this weekend to discuss the impact of the Directive and to decide what measures can be taken against it. The secretary general and the secretary of PIMECO (the Spanish Small and Medium Sized Businesses Association), Angel Pujol and Josep Capo respectively, warned that it would “elimubate basic powers of the Balearic government in domestic commerce.” They claimed that the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Taxation, which will be in charge of incorporating the Directive into Spanish legislation, will be leaving it to individual town councils to decide what restrictions they can apply. They will using arguments based on public health or security, or environmental protection, the union spokesmen alleged.
But, they warned, town councils are “especially vulnerable” to pressure, adding that they were sure that this will lead to an “a la carte urban planning programme” favouring large commercial companies, taking control of this out of the hands of the Balearic Government. PIMECO confirmed that the Bolkestein Directive “will make a mockery” of the moratorium on large stores approved by the Balearic Government, and damage a sector which has “neither a voice nor a vote” on commercial laws, and will also mean the “total liberalisation” of this sector. Balearic government policies currently favour small traders.

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