(12/03/03) De Europese Groenen
en regionalisten stemden vandaag tegen een resolutie over de verdere liberalisering van de internationale handel
in diensten. De fractie vraagt meer openheid en parlementaire controle.
WTO GATS Negotiations on Trade in Services:
Greens/EFA demand end to trade negotiation secrecy
The Greens/EFA Group today voted against a Resolution in the European Parliament on the further liberalisation of international trade in services (the WTO GATS Agreement), citing as unsatisfactory the lack of transparency and inability of parliament to undertake any meaningful scrutiny of the negotiations.
Speaking after the vote Caroline Lucas MEP (UK), the Group's co-ordinator on trade issues, said:
"Mainly at our insistence, the Resolution does contain some critical advice to Trade Commissioner Lamy on the conduct of the GATS negotiations, but we decided that it also left too many questions unanswered for us to be able to support it. The impact of more liberalisation, especially in the public service sector, has ignited an intense public debate and in our view the most appropriate course of action would be to suspend negotiations at the WTO until some fundamental problems have been resolved. These include establishing clearly the rights of national and local governments to continue to make social and environmental regulations without this policy-making being put into question by GATS".
Caroline Lucas also called for "measures to permit developing countries to maintain control over their public sector services and natural resources" and added " the failure of the WTO to undertake impact assessment studies of further liberalisation in service sectors, which is required by GATS but mysteriously remains off the agenda, is something that should happen before, and not after, the next round of negotiations."
Claude Turmes MEP (Lux) singled out the issue of water privatisation as an example of the consequences of unthinking liberalisation.
"The logic of the EU's internal market allied to the momentum of GATS means that the collection, treatment and distribution of water is at risk of fast becoming a private business both inside and outside the EU. We believe that these services should remain as public utilities and not become the subject of private monopolies. Where these liberalisation policies have been imposed on developing countries by the IMF and World Bank, the results have been vastly increased prices and a corresponding reduction in people's ability to pay. The Millennium goal to halve the number of people lacking access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation will not be achieved by selling off the water resources to the highest bidder."
Klik voor de tekst die de Europese Groenen indienden.
De officiële reactie van de Europese Commissie op deze resolutie was van een heel andere aard.