The European Parliament will soon debate and vote on a report on the controversial TTIP trade agreement that is being negotiated between the EU and the US (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership). MEPs aren’t negotiating the deal themselves, but this vote is a crucial opportunity for our elected representatives to tell the European Commission’s negotiation team not to do a deal that’s bad for people’s rights, protections and public services.
Unless the negotiators are told in no uncertain terms that it would be unacceptable, TTIP could lead to more public services being privatised and it could make reversing that impossible.
It could allow foreign companies to sue governments for actions that would affect their profits or even their expectations of future profits, through the notorious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). In the past companies have used ISDS to sue countries that increased minimum wages, introduced healthcare regulations or protected the environment.
It could erode workers’ rights, environmental, animal welfare and consumer protection standards in both the Europe and the USA, bringing those standards down to the lower of the two.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The more people that express concerns now, the more impact we will have. Please sign now to send a letter to your MEPs.
All MEPs need to hear that their constituents want them to support enforceable workers’ rights; oppose compromise alternatives to ISDS that aren’t much better, and insist on no lowering of regulatory standards.
This debate and vote have already been put back from the original 10 June plan, so we know politicians are aware just how divisive the issue is.
You have the chance to give the European Commission and the Governments of Europe a clear indication of what the representatives of Europe's people want them to do, and I hope you will cast your votes in the public interest.
The most important votes will concern Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS.) I am opposed to a special court system solely for foreign investors, and therefore oppose ISDS in particular but also all compromise 'alternatives' which provide privileged access to dispute settlement for one group alone, rather than domestic courts and state-state dispute settlement.
I urge you to vote against the compromise ISDS amendment that has been introduced. Should the final report include ISDS or the compromise amendment I would urge you to reject it in the final vote, but if the final report excludes ISDS then MEPs should definitely support the report in the final vote, to send a clear mission to the EU's TTIP negotiators.
Secondly, I am concerned about public services, especially the NHS and health and education. Voters should decide what is and is not part of the public sector, through their democratically-elected governments. The best way to do this is to use the 'positive list' approach, and I urge you to vote for Amendment 13 and support any other moves which replace 'hybrid' or 'negative' lists with 'positive' lists.
I also want the European Parliament to express support for no lowering of regulatory standards for workers, consumers, animal welfare or the environment, as well as binding and enforceable ILO standards, as already provided for in the INTA report you will be voting on.
Please let me know how you intend to vote on the above, and why.