Free trade deals set to ravage Europe’s public services

Public services in the EU are under threat from transatlantic trade agreements that could endanger citizens’ rights to basic services like water, health, and energy for the sake of corporate profits, according to a new report released today by an international group of NGOs and trade unions1.

The study shows how the EU’s CETA2 deal with Canada, and the TTIP3 under negotiation with the United States, could lock public utilities into irreversible commercialisation and remove governments' ability to regulate services.

Exposing systemic collusion between big business and European Commission officials in drawing up CETA and TTIP, the report shows how negotiators are doing the work of the EU’s most powerful corporate lobby groups in pushing an aggressive corporate agenda of far-reaching market opening in the public sector.

Pia Eberhardt, researcher and campaigner with lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory:

“Corporate lobby groups have their fingerprints all over CETA and a similarly dangerous agenda is being pursued in the ongoing TTIP talks. The consequences include proposals for excessive investor rights which mean corporations could sue governments for regulations that affect their profits, potentially leading to multi-billion Euro payouts in compensation. Citizens must come together to stop this!”

Jan Willem Goudriaan, general Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU):

“The corporate sector is pushing an agenda that threatens citizens and workers as a vast array of public services are set to be subject to liberalisation under the provisions of these agreements. What is at stake is our right to vital services, and the ability of public services to function in the public interest.”



LINK to the executive summary with the main findings in English, French, German.


Pablo Sanchez, European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) 0032 – (0) 474626633

Pia Eberhardt, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Tel.: ++49 (0)221 789 678 10 Mobile: ++49 (0) 152 56 30 91 02

1Published by Association Internationale de Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs (AITEC), Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU), Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialności (IGO), Transnational Institute (TNI), Vienna Chamber of Labour (AK Vienna), and War on Want

2CETA - Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between EU and Canada

3TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership