Parliament working document calls to exclude public services from TiSA

After having concluded its file on recommendations for the European Commission on the negotiations for TTIP, the European Parliament has today started working on an analogue file on recommendations on the negotiations for TiSA. As a European trade union confederation representing several million public sector workers, CESI welcomes that a first working document calls to exclude public services from the trade agreement and hence rule out TiSA-induced destructive liberalisation forces for the sector.

Parliament working document calls to exclude public services from TiSA

The working document, officially titled ‘Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)’, starts an own-initiative report procedure in the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA). The aim is to provide constructive input to the TiSA negotiations towards the European Commission, which negotiates the agreement on behalf of the EU. The rapporteur is the former European Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, who became an MEP after the last European elections.

For CESI, it is encouraging to see that Ms Reding’s working document calls to comprehensively exclude public services from TiSA. It states: “Public services … are not for sale. They are jewels rooted in Europe’s DNA … While the negotiating text demonstrates the EU’s political will to widely exclude public services, it could be said more clearly, more simply and less equivocally by means of a gold standard clause.”

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger welcomes in particular the reference to a gold standard clause: “The idea of a gold standard clause for the protection of public services was coined by an initiative by CESI and the Social Platform during a joint campaign months ago already. We believe that including public services in the scope of TiSA would lead to detrimental privatisation and liberalisation pressures in the sector. Therefore, we are glad that the term of a gold standard clause for the protection of public services has been included in the working document.”

Indeed, already back in February this year CESI held one of its [email protected] lunchtime events on a safeguard clause in TiSA for public services – with Ms Reding as keynote speaker.

More information about a gold standard clause for the protection of public services in TiSA can be accessed here. For more details about why CESI believes that public services should be fully excluded from the agreement, please see also this article by CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, published in EurActiv earlier this year.