Scottish MEP David Martin has warned public concerns over trade must be addressed following the adoption of a resolution on the ongoing negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) by the European Parliament international trade committee.
The resolution sets out a series of demands from MEPs to the European Commission, which is negotiating TiSA on behalf of the EU national governments. These include the full exclusion of all public services; strong safeguards for workers; a new binding clause to guarantee data privacy; and greater transparency.
TiSA is currently being negotiated between 23 WTO parties, including the EU. It is intended as a tool to reform the rules surrounding global trade in services, which have been in force since 1995 through the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
David Martin MEP, Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on international trade, said:
"There has been confusion, and consequently some anger in the public debate regarding trade agreements. It is vital that the Commission engages meaningfully with the public who have clearly indicated they are not prepared to sacrifice the right of democratically elected representatives to regulate in the public interest, whether that be rights at work, data privacy or the provision of public services.
"The trade in services is a significant and growing part of the EU economy. Creating a level playing field and opening global markets to European service providers is long overdue and crucial to the protection and promotion of jobs in the European Union.
"In no EU country are jobs so linked to the services sector as in the UK. The Trade in Services Agreement is an opportunity not only to boost our economy but to update trade rules for the benefit of all.”
The resolution will now be put to a vote of all MEPs next month.