Solidar | 22 Aug 2014
TTIP - German welfare organisations demand exclusion of social services
In a common position paper, SOLIDAR member Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) as a member of the German coordination organization of welfare organization together with another network outlined their position on the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) regarding social and health care services.
The paper sheds light on possible risks for the social and health service sector not only in Germany but Europewide if a comprehensive trade agreement as currently foreseen is concluded, such as: the declaration of existing social and health standards as non-tariff-barriers to trade; an increasing pressure for economisation and rationalisation on personal social and health care services with a detrimental effect on their quality; a high degree of legal uncertainty caused by dynamic rules of liberalisation and the envisaged negative list approach.
AWO and Paritätischer demand the exclusion of social and health care services from the TTIP negotiations to guarantee the retention of high standards regarding consumer, workers, patients’, data, environmental, health and social protection rights.
Furthermore, the high degree of secrecy maintained around the negotiations is being criticised. The European Commission keeps refusing to publish its negotiation mandate and all relevant negotiating documents. A comprehensive involvement of civil society is therefore not possible and obviously not desired.
The envisaged Investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) must be abandoned to avoid the establishment of a parallel private international justice system which is unnecessary given the high standards of the European and US legal systems. Especially, as the recently finalized Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has included an ISDS provision, we are therefore concerned that this will be used as a blue print for TTIP, and allow US based companies to use their Canadian branches to present their complaints against European States.
Please find the SOLIDAR briefing paper on TTIP here.