TiSA: Vote on the amendments & stop signing agreements that undermine the social values of Europe
During tonight's debate in the European Parliament on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), GUE/NGL MEPs called for amendments to the agreement to be voted on tomorrow despite efforts from President Schulz to postpone voting.
Greek MEP, Stelios Kouloglou, told the plenary: "The only ones who want agreements like the current version of TiSA are the multinational companies and their political representatives. They want deregulation, they want no rules, they want to undermine the states and small and medium enterprises, and they want to undermine labour standards and quality."
Referring to the amendments that have been proposed by various political groups within the Parliament, he added: "If the agreement needs to be reformed, then let's bring it up to date. It is clear that the citizens of Europe want public services excluded from this agreement. Otherwise, we will see more privatisation in education and health. We are asking for governments to have the power to change their policies and their agreements and we are asking for protection of the environment and data privacy."
While GUE/NGL MEPs have proposed amendments to reduce the negative impacts of the agreement, Kouloglou expressed the group's ultimate position: "Even at this late stage, we are asking the European Parliament and the European Commission to withdraw from the negotiations as Uruguay did. This agreement is unnecessary for the European Union and unwanted by its citizens. It's time to stop signing agreements that undermine the social values of Europe."
GUE/NGL Coordinator on the Committee on International Trade, Helmut Scholz, addressed Commissioner Reding, the rapporteur for the report on TiSA, directly: "While I acknowledge that your report includes a number of our demands as a result of the mobilisation of civil society against TiSA, many of the demands put by trade unions, municipal governments and consumer organisations - which were included in the amendments proposed by our group - were not included in your compromise amendments."
"We are now calling on you to use only positive lists because what isn't debated explicitly isn't subject to market rules.
"In the voting list you've voted against almost every recommendation of the technical committees who are trying to protect consumers and producers. Where are red lines that the committees put forward?
"Commissioner, I don't think this resolution is going to change the way the Commission handles the negotiations and that is why we are not going to be able to vote in favour."
Dutch MEP, Anne-Marie Mineur, added: "TiSA is the ugly little brother of TTIP and a number of other agreements. It's an example of how the EU does what multinational companies tell it to do. All of this of course runs counter to labour rights and against democracy in a lot of countries because TiSA is going to force a lot of countries to open up a lot of markets and force them to make a series of concessions which are simply not acceptable."
"Amendment 20 calls on the Commissioner to withdraw from the negotiations. If we genuinely want to protect public services, then TiSA is not a good thing and I will vote against it.
"I also draw to your attention to amendments 19, 20 and 48. This agreement has to be ratified by national governments and that is called for in an amendment. Furthermore, ILO standards must be binding," Mineur concluded.