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Leaked EU TiSA demands reveal “do as we say, not as we do” doctrine

14 October 2016
Today’s release of the EU’s demands of developing countries in the TISA negotiations highlights the double standards within the EU, says Public Services International. While the European Commission tries to convince the European public that its approach to trade agreements safeguards European public services it simultaneously demands that developing countries public services are undermined.

Read the joint statement from a strong coalition of Global Union Federations calling for an end to the TiSA talks here.

Of the most concern are the EU’s demands for other negotiating countries to remove sub-national and local government from policy space exclusions, which would dramatically restrict the ability to safeguard local services. Such a move could open up services delivered at a local level such as water, waste, health care and education to the profit making incentives of multinational corporations.

The EU is home to some of the world’s largest private service operators who have used other trade agreements to expand their market dominance and aggressively safeguard their profits. Ironically, many European cities have recently reversed failed privatizations, such as the remunicipalization of the Paris and Berlin water supplies - a move which TiSA would restrict.

“Developing countries need to be careful that they are not fooled into thinking that the EU’s statements about social Europe translate into its foreign and trade policy” said PSI’s General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli. “It seems the European social model ends at the border of the EU and morphs into brutal neo-colonialism when it comes to trade policy towards developing countries.”

“Moreover, the EU position ignores the potential danger of exporting aggressive privatization policies to the developing world, which have already been shown to be the cause of social and political instability in many EU countries,” Pavanelli said.

Astonishingly the EU is demanding that developing countries dramatically restrict their ability to regulate financial markets; despite deregulation playing a clear role in the 2008 financial crisis from which the EU itself has still not recovered.

The myth of public service exceptions

The definition of public services which has been agreed to in the latest TiSA leak is very narrow and does not provide adequate scope. While there are some health, environment and tax exceptions, which negotiators claim safeguard the public interest, they are unlikely to be effective as they have been copied from WTO general exceptions which have only been successfully used by governments once in 44 attempts.  

“These documents show that the EU trade negotiators’ definition of public services is drastically out of touch with how the people, and many EU Governments, see public services; as a common good to be safeguarded, not opened up for profit-making by multinational corporations,” Pavanelli said.

PSI and our partners in the Global Union Movement are calling on leaders to stop the TiSA talks immediately to ensure that our essential public services are no longer put at risk.

Read the leaks here.

Also see