Health care and social services are not for trading! EPSU asks MEPs to support the ENVI Opinion on CETA

working paper HSS in CETA & TTIP

To members of the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)

Brussels, 21 December 2016

Dear member of the ENVI Committee,

On 12 January 2017 you will be asked to vote on the draft ENVI Opinion on the EU – Canada Trade and Investment Agreement, CETA. 

As trade unions representing health and social services workers (from both the public and private sectors) in about 40 countries across Europe and in 25 of the 28 EU MS, we ask you to support the Opinion.

Attached and on our website in EN-FR-DE-ES-RU-SV you will see a resolution “Free trade agreements: Health care and social services are not for trading!adopted by our members participating in EPSU’s Standing Committee “Health and Social Services” that met on 22 September 2016 in Brussels. The resolution addresses the impact of CETA on the provision, safeguarding and further development of healthcare and social services in Europe.

The resolution builds on the findings and conclusions of a working paper published in May 2016 “CETA and TTIP: Potential impacts on health and social services (EN and summaries in EN-FR-DE-ES-IT). This working paper analyses and explains in detail and with examples the potential impact of CETA and TTIP on issues such as:

  • Hospital planning
  • Staff-patient ratios
  • Health and safety regulations
  • Mutual recognition of professional qualifications
  • Temporary stay of health professionals in another country
  • Socially-responsible public procurement and
  • Locking in of health and social service privatisations

The EPSU position on CETA covers the following key demands:

  • Full transparency and comprehensive democratic decision-making
  • Enforceable ILO core labour standards and safeguarding of work and social standards
  • Securing of the power to shape policy and legal autonomy of the States in Europe – no special rights of action and arbitration tribunals for investors
  • Safeguarding procurement law  within European/national competence
  • Carving out public services from the scope of agreements

CETA meets none of these demands. CETA will jeopardise public health gains brought about by access for all to quality public services such as health, education, water and sanitation, affordable energy. In particular we consider that the ‘negative list,’ ratchet and standstill provisions together with the Investor Court System (ICS) will make it much harder for governments - especially at local level - to fulfil their responsibilities as regards public health.

Yours sincerely,

Presidential Team of EPSU’s SC HSS

  • Dr. Margret Steffen, ver.di Bundesverwaltung, Fachbereich Gesundheit, Wohlfahrt und Kirchen, Bereich Gesundheitspolitik, Tel.: 0049 30 6956 1811, E-Mail: [contact in German] – President of EPSU’s SC HSS
  • Christina McAnea, UNISON, National Secretary for Health, Tel. 0044 207 121 5693, E-Mail: [contact in English] – Vice-President of EPSU’s SC HSS
  • Maryvonne Nicolle, CFDT-Santé Sociaux, Secrétaire Fédérale Europe-International, Tel. 0033 628 451 337, E-Mail: [contact in French] – Vice-President of EPSU’s SC HSS
  • Kirsi Sillanpää, Tehy – The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals, Director, Societal Relations and Development Branch, E-Mail: [contact in Finnish] – Vice-President of EPSU’s SC HSS

and Mathias Maucher, European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Policy Staff - Officer Health and Social Services

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