BAKU – Education should be excluded, should there be an agreement on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the future. Students in Europe urge the negotiating parties to use the example of cultural and audio visual services that have already been excluded from the discussions.
Two resolutions stating this were adopted by the 47 national unions of students at the Board Meeting of the European Students’ Union, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 1 to 5 December 2014. Students believe that it would be detrimental to the society to include education in trade and service agreements. Such agreements dismiss the multiple purposes that education serves, endanger plans to widen access to education and contribute to the commodification of education. ESU firmly believes that education is one of the main pillars of modern civilisation that must be considered as a public good and public responsibility.
Furthermore, students expressed serious concerns about the format of the trade talks, in particular that the content is not shared with stakeholders or the general public. ESU’s resolutions note, that Cecilia Malmström, the EU Commissioner for Trade, said she agreed with many concerns raised by stakeholders on 4 December 2014. The negotiations needed a fresh start, in order to make them more transparent and include the civil society. ESU would like to follow-up on those words, by urging the negotiation teams to open up their talks and take stakeholders’ concerns into account.
The students also expressed their willingness to take actions at all possible levels against the TTIP, should their concerns be ignored. Thus, students want to see significant changes where the discussion is made more transparent and education removed from the agreement.
Negotiation parties from the European Union and the United States are involved in the ongoing discussions on the TTIP. ESU believes that they pose a serious threat to the freedom and accessibility of education in their current form. Thus, the TTIP can commodify education and public services in Europe.
The European Commission was given a mandate in 2013, to start the negotiations with the United States on the TTIP. The aim is to agree on a final text that is acceptable to governments of the EU Member States and Members of the European Parliament. So far, the civil society in Europe has had very limited access to the content of this draft agreement.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.