MEPs approved on 3 February Parliament's position on the Trade in Services International Agreement (TiSA), which is currently being negotiated by the EU and 22 World Trade Organisation partners. Read on for more on the agreement and check out our infographic explaining TiSA.
TiSA is an agreement being negotiated by 23 WTO members, including the EU, who want to further liberalise the trade in services between each other. The negotiations were debated by MEPs on1 February.
The resolution containing Parliament's recommendations was approved on 3 February by 532 votes to 131, with 36 abstentions. MEPs stressed in their recommendations that TiSA should deliver more opportunities for European firms to supply services such as transport and telecoms to countries outside the EU, but want to make sure that the deal would not prevent European countries from creating laws in the public interest, for example on issues such as labour and data protection.
Report author Viviane Reding, a Luxembourg member of the EPP group, said in an interview: "We certainly do not want TiSA to undermine our public services, culture, labour laws, environmental standards, consumer protection, data protection - in other words the way we live in Europe." She also warned Parliament would not approve the agreement at any cost: "Our standards cannot be changed by any trade agreement. Otherwise the Parliament will say no in the end."
Although the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU, guided by the member states, the final deal must be approved by both member states and the European Parliament. Without this approval, the agreement cannot enter into force. This is why MEPs are following the talks very closely.
Parliament provides the negotiators with its recommendations on the issues raised so that it can influence the talks before a final text has been agreed. Once the text has been finalised, Parliament can either approve or reject it, but MEPs will not have the possibility to amend it.
MEPs already debated the recommendations on 1 February. Watch the video to find out what they had to say.
Visit our newshub to find out what MEPs had to say about the TiSA negotiations on social media.