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22 April 2015

MEPs vote against liberalisation of culture, media and education through TTIP

Helga Trüpel Vice-President of the Culture and Education Committee remarks on the CULT opinion, and is keeping a watchful eye on the next vote at the International Trade Committee

Simon McKeagney, Editor

A clear majority of the members of the Culture and Education Committee called for a general clause to reserve the right for future regulation with respect to the protection or promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, media pluralism and media freedom.

Audio-visual media services and education should remain excluded from the proposed trade agreement with the United States (TTIP). It was a clear response to the fears that TTIP might threaten the diversity of European culture and media landscape and the public education.

Helga Trüpel, rapporteur of the TTIP opinion and Vice-President of the Culture and Education Committee said:

"We call on the EU Commission to defend cultural diversity in the negotiations with the United States. Culture is not a commodity like any other. EU countries should retain the right to protect and promote theatres, museums and cultural facilities from the open market. The system of fixed book prices must not be sacrificed to market liberalization.

We parliamentarians call for an exemption for audiovisual services. The European Commission should prevail in the negotiations with the United States that online and offline media continue to be regulated by the Member States. Future legislation to protect minors, to name just one example, should not be made impossible by TTIP.

Also, the education sector deserves special protection. Critics of the agreement fear a sweeping privatization of the education landscape. Member States should continue to be free to decide on regulation and funding in education.

Unfortunately my proposal for a positive list approach in which only those areas of the market can be liberalized that are explicitly listed in the contract, was rejected; the majority supported a negative list.

Because of the majority in the committee, I have not brought my criticism of the private arbitration (ISDS) for voting. We Greens will campaign in the Trade Committee and in the final vote in plenary for a clear rejection of ISDS. "

The CULT opinion passed by 24 votes to 2 against, with 4 abstentions

Read: Consolidated OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education for the Committee on International Trade on recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Rapporteur: Helga Trüpel

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