18 May 1998
Euro ministers to discuss freer trade solutions
EUROPEAN UNION countries could soon be held accountable if industrial action within their borders blocks the free flow of goods, under plans to be discussed by ministers today.
The talks follow a series of recent disputes, particularly by French farmers and truck drivers who blocked ports and borders. The European Commission has in the past proved powerless to deal with two blockades by striking French truck drivers.
The compromise plan falls short of the ECs original proposal which would have given it far-reaching powers to force individual states to take action if their borders are not opened up within days of unrest.
The compromise plan means EU states would agree to a regulation emphasising the duties of all members states to ensure the single market could function properly. Countries would also undertake to act swiftly to combat any disruption of the flow of goods.
- Financial Times 18/05/98 page 6