How to challenge the liberalisation of public services in TTIP, CETA and TiSA

On 15 and 16 January 2015 EPSU together with ETUCE, AK and ÖGB organised a seminar on how to challenge the liberalisation of public services in TTIP, CETA and TiSA
The seminar brought together some 100 participants and experts from 25 countries in order to discuss the pitfalls of and common responsive strategies to the free trade agreements that the EU is currently in the process of negotiating.

Thomas Fritz from Power Shift in Germany set the scene by giving an introduction to why trade policies are important to workers and public services. In a detailed reading of the consolidated CETA text - the de facto template for TTIP negotiations - he outlined the many loopholes of the text as regards safeguards for public services and explained why governmental policy space is at risk.

Trade union responses and strategies towards trade deals were presented and discussed by panellists Jürgen Buxbaum (PSI), Louise Høj Larsen (ETUCE), Larry Brown (NUPGE Canada) and Angela Pfister (ÖGB). All panellists highlighted the need to disseminate information to the public and raise awareness of public authorities on all levels, from the local to the European, as essential steps to prevent negative consequences for public services in TTIP, CETA and TiSA.

Participants gave updates on the realities in their respective countries in relation to public awareness, governments' attitudes towards privatization and what kind of actions trade unions and civil society are taking to put focus on the trade agreements' potential consequences. Generally, public knowledge about trade agreements is low across countries. Many trade unions are active in raising awareness amongst members and the wider public and cooperating with NGOs and others to increase public interest and to put pressure on governments and on the European Parliament.

A panel comprising Jörg Leichtfried MEP (S&D, Austria), Daniele Basso Adviser ETUC and Alexandra Strickner, ATTAC Austria, contributed further ideas to how trade unions can deepen and broaden the trade debate and updated participants on how they see the trade debate shaping up. The seminar’s concluding session stressed the need for intensified efforts to develop common actions and initiatives on trade.

A full report of the meeting and presentations available below.

Report from the training seminar

Presentation - "Why is trade policy important for workers and public services"
by Thomas Fritz from Power Shift, Germany. PDF

Report of the meeting of the EC advisory sub-group on services 21 November 2014

Recent positions from ÖGB and DGB on trade
for your info

‘Reading list’ of background documents 
January 2015



  • 15-16 January 2015, Vienna
  • 15-16 January 2015, Vienna