MEPs will vote on their recommendations for the ongoing talks on the Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA) on Wednesday 13 February. The agreement is being negotiated by 23 World Trade Organisation members, including the EU, who want to further liberalise the trade in services between each other. You can follow the vote live online and check out the infographic for more facts.
MEPs have stressed in their recommendations that TiSA should deliver more opportunities for European firms to supply services such as transport and telecoms to countries outside the EU, but want to make sure that the deal would not prevent European countries from creating laws in the public interest, for example on issues such as labour and data protection.
Report author Viviane Reding, a Luxembourg member of the EPP group, said in an interview: “We certainly do not want TiSA to undermine our public services, culture, labour laws, environmental standards, consumer protection, data protection – in other words the way we live in Europe.” She also warned Parliament would not approve the agreement at any cost: “Our standards cannot be changed by any trade agreement. Otherwise the Parliament will say no in the end.”
Although the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU, guided by the member states, the final deal must be approved by both member states and the European Parliament. Without this approval, the agreement cannot enter into force. This is why MEPs are following the talks very closely. Parliament provides the negotiators with its recommendations on the issues raised so that it can influence the talks before a final text has been agreed. Once the text has been finalised, Parliament can either approve or reject it, but MEPs will not have the possibility to amend it.