EC calls for private sector competition to manage social security services

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The national social security services of European Union member states are to be opened up to private sector competition according to the terms of a proposed European Commission directive on public procurement. The directive, presented in December 2011 by European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, and due to be submitted to the European Parliament later this year, requires governments to launch a yearly invitation for tenders to manage sectors of their compulsory social security services, most of which until now have been managed according to the principle of social solidarity. Surprisingly, the proposal, contained in an annexe of the 246-page text of the directive, was until this month unnoticed by MEPs, several of whom have now mounted an urgent campaign to have it removed. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports. 

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The national social security services of European Union member states are to be opened up to private sector competition, according to a clause buried within a wide-ranging European Commission directive on public procurement.