NEWS

EC to sue over closed professions

The European Commission has threatened to launch legal action against Greece for failing to open up closed professions – certain restricted occupations ranging from the dispensation of medicines to notary services – in line with European Union regulations and the debt-ridden government’s commitments to its international creditors, Kathimerini has learned. The EC had given Greece until July 7 to comply or face a large fine, sources have told Kathimerini. Opening up a whole range of professions such as pharmacists, taxi drivers and truck drivers to competition is one of Greece’s obligations as an EU member state, in accordance with the bloc’s competition directives. But Greece also pledged to deregulate these professions in a memorandum it signed in May with the EC, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to secure 110 billion euros in loans for the next three years. European Commission officials have long been pressing Greece to open up a number of closed professions to foster competitiveness in line with the Bolkestein directive, which aims to create, by 2011, a single market for services within the EU, similar to the single market for goods that already exists.