Monday 10 March 2014

Green MEP warns on trade deal threat to NHS

Jean Lambert MEP has warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) damages democracy, threatens the future of the NHS and should be scrapped.

Speaking as negotiations between the European Commission and the US enter their fourth round in Brussels, Lambert said the free trade agreement could override important EU and UK laws which set standards and protect services – on issues such as food safety, data protection, health and the environment.

The London MEP was speaking at the launch of a joint report from her and Green MEP colleague Keith Taylor, which highlights some of the many dangers of the agreement to UK sovereignty.
The right to access public procurement – government spending, which could include the NHS – forms a major part of negotiations.

Transnational corporations from the US would have the right to enter the UK market – with 'regulatory harmonisation' between the EU and US companies leading to standards being watered down.

There is also the prospect that the UK government could be sued if it introduces regulations that might limit the future expected profit of services, making the liberalisation of services virtually irreversible.
    Greens are the only major group in the European Parliament which currently opposes the trade deal.
    Lambert said:
    “These deals being made behind closed doors will have serious consequences for our rights - they will see democracy losing out to corporate power.
    “We already know the Tory-Lib Dem coalition don't care about our public services staying in public hands – but this deal could stop future governments reversing their damaging privatisation agenda.
    “The deal threatens to open the NHS to US companies, and close the door on a future government putting patients back before profits.
    “This trade deal is not about free trade, but a free-for-all, slashing regulations in favour of big business.
    “Greens are the only party putting human rights before corporate rights. This deal must be scrapped.”

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