TiSA can be good for EU but must not damage workers' rights or public services, say S&D MEPs

TiSA can be good for EU but must not damage workers' rights or public services, say S&D MEPs, Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, David Martin MEP

Speaking after the adoption of a report outlining the Parliament's recommendations to the European Commission regarding the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations, S&D members made clear that they would not accept an agreement that damaged public services or watered down workers' rights.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, S&D co-ordinator for the report, said:

"Trade in services is vital for the EU and the current rules are grossly outdated, as there was virtually no internet trade when the last deal was agreed back in 1995. The status quo is therefore not an option: we absolutely need reform, but this must not be at the expense of workers' rights or of our public services.

"TiSA can help close loopholes that are currently used to abuse workers and consumers, but the Commission needs to get it right and make this clear in the upcoming negotiations. With today's vote, we're giving a new mandate to the Commission. If it fails to respect it, then the European Parliament will have to consider rejecting the final outcome."

David Martin MEP, S&D spokesperson for international trade, added:

"Services form the bedrock of the European economy, with 70% of Europeans employed in the service industry. This is reflected in our international trade where we have a trade surplus of 162.9 billion EUR in services with our partners. A comprehensive and updated agreement on the Trade in Services could increase this further by opening our trading partners to increased competition."

"However, this should not become a free-for-all. We need to have rules governing trade to ensure that competition is fair and within set boundaries. We have secured strong language in this report to ensure that public services are fully exempt from the agreement and that workers' rights are safeguarded. It is essential that any agreement on TiSA does not damage the EU or member states' ability to preserve and strengthen labour standards. The Commission must respect this position in its negotiations with our international partners."