Good news: European Parliament calls to exclude public services from TTIP

Today, the European Parliament plenary adopted its long-awaited report on recommendations to the Commission on the TTIP negotiations. The final report explicitly calls to exclude public services from an agreement with the USA. CESI, which represents numerous national trade unions from different fields of the public sector, very much welcomes the report: It marks a further step in CESI's successful campaign to keep the public services out of TTIP and thereby ensure that quality services of general interest can be provided in Europe in the absence of TTIP-induced harmful liberalisation and privatisation pressures.

Good news: European Parliament calls to exclude public services from TTIP

The adopted text unambiguously calls on the Commission – which is mandated by the EU to negotiate the TTIP with the USA – to build on the joint statement of March 20 2015 by Commissioner Malmström and US Trade Representative Froman regarding the exclusion of public services in EU-US trade agreements. The joint statement confirmed that TTIP will not prevent governments from providing services in areas such as water, education, health and social services. Furthermore, it will not require them to privatise any service.

Following an adopted amendment by MEP Trüpel and fellow Greens/EFA MEPs, the plenary report now also calls to “ensure with a general clause the right of EU Member States to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the provision of all educational and cultural services which work on a non-profit basis and/or receive public funding to any degree or state support in any form, and to ensure that privately funded foreign providers meet the same quality and accreditation requirements as domestic providers.” 

During the last months, CESI together with the Social Platform pursued a joint initiative to insert a “gold standard clause” in trade and investment agreements such as TTIP to fully protect public services from any liberalisation pressures. In this context, CESI’s Secretary-General Klaus Heeger welcomed the plenary vote with regards to public services: “Our gold standard clause initiative has yielded first concrete results. The two clauses on public services in the plenary report reflect much of what such a gold standard clause could look like. Now, the Commission needs to listen to what parliament has said. After all, the treaties foresee that it is the European Parliament that in the end approves or rejects negotiated trade deals such as TTIP. I believe parliament will reject any deal that fails to incorporate its recommendations.”

CESI will work to remind the Commission of this.